Wednesday, December 30, 2015

100 Sentences to Practice Fluency (Freebie!)

Looking for a versatile set of flash cards?  

I love this simple (no frills) set of sentences I created for my own students. This is a handy file to have on hand for daily dictation, spelling, fluency reading, or handwriting. It works for independent reading or partner reading...or as a quick reading or spelling inventory or assessment.  All the words are from Fry's first 200 high frequency words...the most common words we encounter in reading and writing. The first 200 are recommended for grades K-2. 

Don't forget! To celebrate 100th day at your school, you may want to make it a big "event" to read 100 sentences!  Hand out a certificate (included) to recognize students for reading 100 sentences on 100th day!~

Below are a couple of sample pages from the packet. You are invited to download this for free!

Please note: If you would like to download this for free...please go to my store link and download it. I only ask that you do not share it; instead please direct others to this link. Do not post on the internet, or share publicly without including my store link, or permission. Thanks so much.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanksgiving- A Day to Give Thanks, Remember the Pilgrims, and Squanto, too!

       In our classrooms, we need to continue to encourage critical thinking when it comes to popular historical events. We are sentimental as a nation, which is natural. We are proud of our heritage; and that is very important! But there is never just one side to a story.

This set asks kids to think about the following:
What might others think about the first Thanksgiving? 
What would a Wampanoag child think or feel if he/she were to meet the Pilgrims? 
What would a Pilgrim child think at first sight of the Native Americans?
Write a letter to Squanto. What would you say to him if he were alive today?
Was he a hero? Or was he a traitor to his own people, and Chief Massasoit?
What is the writer's point of view? Purpose? Message?

The sample below is just a preview of 23 pages in my new Thanksgiving resource: Squanto: Friend, Guide, and Teacher. This set encourages students to determine fact from opinion, and to write from 2 different points of view. This set includes vocabulary and prompts for writing. This is designed with grades 2-4 in mind, considering text level and questions.

Click on the link below to check it out. It's brand new...maybe a little late to get out into the world, but I worked hard to make this a meaningful resource for teachers and home-schoolers. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Mobiles: Easy No-Fail Fall Craft

Need an easy no-fail fall craft? 

Your kids will have fun making this simple nature mobile. I was awestruck by the simplicity and beauty of what I thought were going to be VERY tacky art pieces!  We did not have real fall leaves that had changed color at the time we made these. 

With some regular hangers, we used bark, twigs, and pine cones, tied on by yarn. We had some interesting pieces...and they had a blast making them. 

From kindergartners to fourth graders...EVERYONE felt successful...and festive with Nature's works. This is a wire hanger, but Walmart had bundles of colored ones for less than $2!  Check out my free Fall Nature Trail Book below, too!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

When you need to reuse notebook dividers....

If you've never done this before, try it! It works. This is one of those oldies, but goodies tips that we sometimes forget about. 

Needing notebook dividers without having time to buy any, I scoured my shelves of old notebooks and found some I could reuse. Not liking the "flip over the tabs and reuse" method, I got out some Q tips and fingernail polish remover. It worked like a charm. Now, I've got dividers without any old writing on the tabs!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Start the Year with Friendship and Kindness!

The foldable book and writing prompts will get them thinking of ways they can be helpful, kind, and share together. Your students will also enjoy personalizing and handing out bookmarks as a token of friendship. (One teacher used these to send to their new pen pals!) 

Stop in at Growing Smart Readers, where you will find even more resources that foster friendship and kindness. Of course, friendship and kindness are not seasonal, whether it's the beginning of the year, the middle, or the end, resources like this one do not expire!

Wishing you a fantastic start with your kids!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Day Bonus Sale: August 19th!

Here's another chance to take advantage of some really spectacular deals--store wide---and feel free to drop in and have a look at my latest resources--like Monster Themed Fluency Graphs, and Monster Sight Word Bookmarks, too!  Pop in Wednesday and browse. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bat Photo Frames and Fun Clip Art

Show off your cuties in little bat bodies! For your bat study, for Halloween, for any time! Your back to school bulletin board would look "batastic" with all of your little bats swooping across it! Stretch 'em, resize 'em, add bows, borders, and borders are included.

Studying bats? 
Writing a report or a narrative? 
This set is a great resource for creating fun writing papers.

Note: Clip art and bat frames can be used for personal or commercial clip art. No credit needed, but please read the friendly terms of use in the file.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ocean Animals Language Arts Packet

Dear Parents and Teachers,
          If you haven't already tried "I Have..Who Has" games with your kids, you are missing out on some learning fun!

Kids LOVE this "I have..who has" game! This one is on OCEAN ANIMALS, and it comes in two skill levels. The first level is with text and picture cues.  The second (harder) level is with text only. Check this fun little learning packet and try it out this summer. If not this summer, over the school year is just as fun...especially when everyone's wishing for winter to end! 

It's games like this that levels out the "playing field" in a classroom. Regardless of a child's reading level, or fluency level, this gives everyone a chance to read and play along---and have FUN!

By the way, since I can't just create one activity in a product, you will find a wordsearch for each level (with answer keys). Great for first and second graders, but I guarantee that third graders will have fun with this, too!

Best wishes for a Happy Summer!
Growing Smart Readers


Here's preview of a few pages.

To find this fun learning resource, please here:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lovin' Little Free Libraries

I just discovered this on the Long Trail today! This is such a great idea! What hiker wouldn't want to relax with the company of a book? I plan to add some books to it. Thought I'd share for those of you who are true bibliophiles, and especially for those of you who are hiking bibliophiles!

Karen :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fun with Trioramas --- Dinoramas!

My second grade crew ended their dinosaur unit with dinoramas! These were so easy to make! You can make them for any thematic unit or story!

Start with a square (cardstock is best). Fold the square corner to corner so that you see 4 triangular sections. Cut the bottom in two on the fold and overlap. Glue or staple. This forms the base or foreground. 

Have the kids color in the background habitat scene. Add a few cut out dinosaurs with stand up tabs. Or, of course the kids can draw their own. Volcanoes and nests filled with dinosaur eggs are a must! Kids will LOVE these when completed. 

The following link is a great template for a triorama. Check it out! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fossil Fun

Fossils are fun every year -- especially for second graders! We had a great time wrapping up our dinosaur studies last week.  I am always amazed at how a simple flour and salt dough recipe can make such realistic fossil imprints. A little paint and Modge Podge also add a special flair. Here are a few examples of our artifacts! 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hand-made Swatters for Sight Words

Swattin' Words? But what do you do when you need fly swatters for a word game, and you can't get your hands on any?

Make your own word grabbers! Instead of fly swatters, we rolled up construction paper and stapled a paper hand to each rolled "arm" or stick.  I used Krista Wallden's free dotty hand clip art (from teachers pay teachers) for the hands. You can find her great clip art here: Creative Clips, and her dotty hands are here: Handful of Dots.

This was easy and fun. I set out several sight word flash cards at a time. Then I called out words for them to smack. My boys were competitive but could not stop laughing as they read their words. This is an old favorite activity for word recognition. I have done all kinds of versions of this. If you haven't tried it, you've got to! And if you don't have any fly swatters on hand, make your own!

Monday, April 20, 2015


Your students will not be able to resist writing about their "flavorite" ice cream, or how they make the best cone ever! Kids will make the perfect cone with this set of prompts. They will cut out their cone cover and lined shape page to create a cone booklet. Perfect for this time of year! Six mouth-watering prompts, lined ice cream cone paper, directions, and organizer included...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

OWLS: This interactive resource will keep your students engaged!

Hello All!

I recently designed this nonfiction owl set to be a hands-on resource with several writing activities, including 2 report templates and a student evaluation checklist. For quite some time, I have wanted to step up literacy for second and third graders, by creating more nonfiction and informational resources that are more than just pages of cute fonts and borders (even though, I do love cute fonts and borders). But I like to create resources that have a balance between attention-getting graphics and fonts, and the rigorous material and content that we need for teaching.

I think the beauty of this resource is that it is versatile! Here is the "booktivity" which can also be an interactive lapbook or science folder. It also serves as a hands-on resource kids can use to write their expository (nonfiction) report on owls, or an owl of their choosing. 

These photos do not include the many writing activities. Again, there's much more in this resource than just the "book". Several activities will keep kids engaged in learning about owls for least long enough to keep them from getting bored! And look what they'll be able to take home, share, and keep for a long time!

Take a peek and see what you think. 

Below is a preview of what the hands-on activities look like when completed. It shows how it can be either an envelope book, or a lap book. The second photo is how it can be made into a lapbook or folder...for either science or ELA class.

Owl Booktivity format

Owl Lap book format

Below are a couple of other elements to this file.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sharing Resources--and a big store-wide sale on the way!

Hello Teachers and Parents!

I'm excited to share two teachers' resources on today's post.  I chose their products to post here because I believe in the quality of these resources... and they are such good deals!

The first packet below is from the 21st Century K store. You'll find themed-based lessons with standards-based activities that integrate Common Core standards with 21st Century learning. The activities are perfect for literacy centers and for 21st Century Student Outcomes. 

Activities are in color and black and white.

Another great product can be found at the Teacher Features Store at Teachers Pay Teachers. This mega activity-packed set has lots of activities for fluency and phonics practice. Be sure to check out this store! It includes a mini book as well!


Be sure to check out our stores this Wednesday, February 25th, for the whopping "Teachers Are Heroes" store-wide sale. You have a chance to get up to 28% off (that's almost 1/3 off) oodles of resources that you can download immediately. You will also get credits toward your next purchase...which believe me, can really add up and save you even more $.
When you check out, be sure to type in the promo code HEROES, for the full discount!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Recognize Kids with Fuzzy Friends Awards--FREE!

Hi There!

Download some fuzzy warm friends awards to pass along to your students for working well together, demonstrating leadership skills, teamwork, kindness and friendship. There are 7 in all...with a couple that have different backgrounds, and a few that have a white background. A blank one is also included so you can personalize it for a student with another special trait to recognize. Check 'em out and please enjoy. You must might get some extra smiles from your children--which makes it totally worthwhile!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


      Are you looking for a list of favorite children's books? I'm sharing a link from Growing Book by Book. Book lists can be found anywhere but I have a hard time finding ones that are relevant. Classics are wonderful and should be read by all, but I also need a list of those favorites that don't necessarily fall into the classics category. Parents ask me at the end of every school year, what are the best books to get their kids. "Best" is subjective, but I think this year I'm going to recommend this list from Growing Book by Book. 

Just go to this link for finding some of the best books for kids--

You will also love their website!

Happy book-looking for your kiddos!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Need some ice cream? Here's my little celebration for 2015! If you would like this free editable file, please check it out today! Click on the link below and it will take you there asap! And may you have a year of wonder, good health and many blessings!