A Week's Worth of Guided Reading Activities to Build Classroom Community

Hey there friends,

Building a positive classroom community is my number one goal every year and I’m sure it’s one of your top priorities, too. I also like to work smarter, not harder. You too? Ha. We’ll this is one of the reasons I absolutely love Guided Reading with a Purpose. I can teach the themes and social skills I want to incorporate into my classroom while still hitting the literacy standards. 

I don’t know about you, but I could never understand why my students often struggle with retelling a story. It’s a skill our kids start working on in Kindergarten, but need to consistently review and practice retelling -  especially on that dang middle section!  I decided that like other skills, we can’t just assume they have them down. 

I needed to address this skill that is seen so much in our literacy standards and yet still focus on the foundation of my classroom which is setting up that positive classroom community so I decided to focus a week entirely on retell and building a positive classroom community. 

Throughout this unit, students examine the beginning, middle and end of the story in detail, making sure to review all the important story elements such as character, setting, problem and solution.

I chose 5 mentor texts with the theme of friendship to help build classroom community, focusing on how to be a good friend and how to make new friends. These are both important topics to our young students and when building a positive classroom community. When the problems are relatable and relevant our students’ recall will increase.  Remember - when you are teaching a new skill, it is so important to make sure the text topic and level are appropriate for your students.

5 Guided Reading Activities to Build a Positive Classroom Community

"Enemy Pie" Guided Reading with a Purpose
This mentor text is a wonderfully fun text about making new friends in unique ways and the importance of truly getting to know someone.

"Leonardo the Terrible Monster" Guided Reading with a Purpose

This mentor text is about a unique friendship between ”people” who are completely different. It also focuses on how we can support our friends.

"Ricky the Rock that Couldn't Roll" Guided Reading with a Purpose
This mentor text is about growth mindset and supporting our friends when they need it.

"The Invisible Boy" Guided Reading with a Purpose

This mentor text is a fabulous story about taking the time to get to know those people around you and the impact you can have in someone’s life by simply offering your friendship and attention.

"We Don't Eat Our Classmates" Guided Reading with a Purpose

This mentor text is a hilarious story about a dinosaur trying to learn the basics of being a good friend to her new classmates.

Click any of the images to check out these resources in my TeachersPayTeachers store. Click any of the book titles above to go to purchase these books on Amazon using my affiliate link.  

Suggestions For Using These Guided Reading Resources

With this guided reading unit, I suggest exploring the problem and solution more in depth to help the students make solid connections to the mentor text. We can then say the problem or main event is our middle. The important events that lead up to that is our beginning and how it was solved, or the resolution, is our end.

Bulletin Board & Anchor Charts

Here is an example of how I set up my bulletin board with included anchor charts. I only leave these up on the week we are focusing on the comprehension skill. I have seen increased interaction with anchor charts when they are only up when necessary.
Bulletin Board and Anchor Chart for Guided Reading Retell

Posters & Story Element Cards

All the mentor posters, story element cards and guided reading materials are included in the Guided Reading with a Purpose Classroom Community and Friendship Bundle to help you focus more on your student success vs. creating examples and other materials. 
Enemy Pie Guided Reading activityRicky the Rock that Couldn't Roll Guided Reading Activity

You can choose to write out the elements in the moment or you use the ready-made cards included in this set. A fun tip is to have the cards turned over and flip them to check to see if the students’ answers were correct.
Guided Reading with a Purpose Retell Story Cards

More Guided Reading with a Purpose Resources

Retell is something our kids do often, but sometimes those frequently used skills need some bulking up and that is exactly why I created this week's Guided Reading with a Purpose all about building a positive classroom community focusing on retell.

If you want to check out this week in Guided Reading with a Purpose, just click below to explore it in my store. You can also read more about this guided reading curriculum HERE in a previous blog post.

As always, I hope you have an amazing week and please reach out if you have any questions, suggestions or just want to connect.

Guided Reading with a Purpose Friendship Bundle


5 Mentor Texts to Teach Classroom Expectations

The First Weeks of School

Hey friends, 
As teachers, we all know the first few weeks of school will always be filled with learning and relearning classroom routines and expectations.  Many of us have a few classics we like to read to model the behaviors we are looking for in our classroom communities. I noticed, just reading the text and simple conversations weren’t helping students make those real-life connections that I hoped for.

5 Books that Teach Classroom Procedures

This week in my Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum I chose 5 mentor texts that focused on back-to-school routines, as well as real-life problem and solution connections.
After digging through my classroom collections and collaborating with other teacher friends, I selected 5 books for guided reading that will help teach classroom procedures and expectations:

Personal Space Camp mentor text to teach classroom expectations
This book addresses personal space, understanding what our bodies need, and how to calm our bodies so they are ready to learn and others can too!

Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal mentor text to teach classroom expectations
This book address the difference between a tell and a tattle, a big deal vs. small deal and when is it right to get an adult and when I, the student can solve it myself.

I Just Want To Do It My Way mentor text for classroom expectations
This book addresses knowing that it’s ok to ask for help, when to ask for help, the positive effects of asking and the negative of when you don’t.

Lacey Walker, Non-Stop Talker mentor text for classroom expectations
This book addresses how to be a good listener, how to wait our turn to talk and the positive effects of listening and negative effects tuning out.

The Girl That Never Made Mistakes mentor text for teaching classroom expectations
This book addresses the anxiety that some students face as they work at school and the worry they feel over making a mistake. It talks about how mistakes are ok , and are actually important. 

More About Using These 5 Guided Reading with a Purpose Resources 

Throughout the week students will have the opportunity to extend their learning of the theme by trying to solve similar problems that we encounter within these stories that we read.  Each guided reading resource listed above has a plethora of included comprehension activities, writing prompts, a unique craft, conversation cards, home connection materials and more that will help students as they predict, analyze and reflect on our comprehension strategy of problem and solution while that oh, so important classroom routines and expectations theme stays strong.  

This free problem and solution bookmark is a small component that is always included in my Guided Reading with a Purpose units and is perfect as a take-home token for school-guardian connections or a reminder in small group instruction.  
Guided Reading with a Purpose Freebie
I absolutely love how this Guided Reading with a Purpose week focused on classroom routines and expectations meets more than the typical “rules” we like to teach. The lessons have positive approaches and require self-reflection and application. I hope you find it as helpful and rewarding as I have. 
Click on the image below to take a closer look at this week’s Guided Reading with a Purpose resource. Want to learn more about Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum?  Read about it in this previous blog post
I wish you the best of luck this school year as you meet your new students and work together through classroom routines and expectations creating that just right classroom community. I know this resource will support you on that journey!

Guided Reading with a Purpose Classroom Expectations Bundle

Guided Reading with a Purpose

Intro to the Guided Reading with a Purpose Curriculum

Hey friends,
If you are looking for something deep, engaging, focused and organized to incorporate into your literacy block, you are in the right place. For those of you who are not familiar with my Guided Reading with a Purpose curriculum, I am excited to tell you a few important components of the program! I have loved using this to not only meet standards, but to teach grade level themes and important social lessons that are oh so valuable to our classroom foundations.

Below are a few building blocks of the program explained, but you can also read more about the curriculum here. To those of you who are familiar with this program you know that Guided Reading with a Purpose incorporates literature. Each day a new book is shared with your class, in fact, five different books are shared each week revolving around a central theme to keep your teaching focused and impactful. Some books are printable and some you can purchase, listen to online or check out at your local library.

Guided Reading with a Purpose Incorporates...

  • STANDARDS BASED INSTRUCTION - Each weekly unit focuses on one main standard though many more standards are integrated in daily lessons. All other standards incorporated are reviewed in either previous weeks and if not taught in 2nd grade yet they are foundational skills from previous grade levels. 
  • WRITING - Literature is an excellent way to inspire ideas for writing. Each daily resource has a connection to use in writing with either informative, opinion, or narrative writing as well as, how-to and letter writing.
  • CRAFTS/Hands on projects - There is a craft or hands on activity included in each daily unit. They are also inspired by the literature featured. I liked to pick and choose to keep things new and exciting for me from year to year.

What You'll Love Most About Guided Reading with a Purpose...

The most important piece of Guided Reading with a Purpose is that you don't need to rush through multiple elements and strategies each week. In order for our students to fully grasp concepts we need to spend the time to analyze and explore the skills we are teaching.  This leads our students to making deeper connections to concepts. Sharing engaging text, creating fun crafts, completing themed activities and participating in focused book talks can't help but lead to memorable learning for our students.

What People Have Said about the Guided Reading with a Purpose Curriculum...

“I homeschool my daughter in 2nd grade and needed good comprehension and writing assignments. I was not satisfied with the curriculum I purchased from her school and searched TPT for help. This was PERFECT! My daughter enjoyed the assignments, learned a lot and loved the book options. Worth every penny.”

“Great as always! I love that I can print and be ready for all levels for myself and when I have a sub!”

“Thank you! Such a huge timesaver. Everything is very clear and easy to deliver to the students.”

“You have put your whole heart into this!  Thank you for a great resource that has everything I could ever need in it for guided reading groups or a whole class lesson.  I love this story, and now I have a great set of activities to go with it.”

Guided Reading with a Purpose Resources

Here is a link to the year long curriculum map that features literature titles, standards focus, writing extensions, etc. It is updated as new units are added.

Click on any of the images below to explore my first few weeks of the guided reading curriculum perfect for getting to know your students while learning/reviewing literary concepts.

Guided Reading with a Purpose Class Expectations

Guided Reading with a Purpose About Me & My Family

Guided Reading with a Purpose Friendship

Guided Reading with a Purpose Goal Setting

At the end of the day we all love being able to hit all the standards, but with this curriculum I loved how it brought up the level of fun and engagement with my students. If you want to do the same in your classroom make sure to check out my Guided Reading with a Purpose Curriculum. If you want a direct peak, you can also download this free back to school Guided Reading with a Purpose resource here.

Guided Reading with a Purpose Back to School Freebie

I hope you have an amazing week and always feel free to reach out.


Guided Reading Resources Perfect for Back to School

Hey there friends!

It's almost that time of year where we get to meet lots of new faces. For students, the start up of school is always fun, a little crazy and for some it can bring about the butterflies. When I discovered the book "Butterflies on The First Day of School" I knew it would be a perfect mentor text to help students overcome those back to school worries. I loved how the book not only showcased relatable experiences for students, but also showed how the main character worked through her worries. I decided this text was an ideal fit for guided reading activities focusing on problem and solution. 

We have all had the butterflies before something big or exciting. School brings the butterflies into our students’ tummies for sure. Help them release their butterflies with these fun activities for the book “Butterflies on the First Day of School”.

Take a glimpse into my Guided Reading with a Purpose Curriculum with a fun craft, writing activity and comprehension extensions for a great back to school text. My goal is to help you teach your kiddos the standards in an effective and engaging way at a “just right” pace. I hope you enjoy this free resource to help you get a small peek of what is included in my ”Guided Reading with a Purpose” units. This engaging resource aligns perfectly with my Guided Reading with a Purpose Back to School Month 1 Bundle.

Snag this free resource by clicking on the image below. 

My Guided Reading with a Purpose Back to School Month 1 Bundle focuses on all those back to school themes you want to hit such as, classroom expectationsall about me & my familyfriendships, and goal setting

My weekly bundles keep students excited with five unique stories featuring a variety of activities that explore the focused comprehension skill as well as review previous strategies when applicable. Writing prompts inspired by the topic and theme, as well as  graphic organizers are also included to help support your young learners.  Mini lessons, support materials and parent letters also help support you as the teacher in your planning and lesson execution. I guarantee you will be pleased with the many applications you will find in this resource, whether it is for differentiation, homework, whole group review, sub plans or to mix it up from school year to school year, you will find it here. 

The goal is that your students walk away from the activity or week of activities feeling confident in the targeted skill. Each activity has a variety of layouts to accommodate your learners. I like to also offer a craft that typically has writing extension involved to continue the learning in a disguised way! Each week I offer spiraling review of previous week’s targets to keep broadening and refreshing their skill base. 

Check out these resources by clicking on any of the images below.

To read more about my Guided Reading with a Purpose Curriculum click here

Oh hey check this out >>> I have gotten together with some of my great teacher friends and put together an amazing back to school resource e-book! Take advantage of this priceless resource by clicking below to download your copy!

One last thing before you leave make sure to enter this awesome giveaway! The giveaway will run 7/30 at 12:00 AM until 8/2 at 12:00 AM. We’ll give away a copy of each resource featured. To make things easy, I set up the Rafflecopter to follow each TPT store. It opens at 12:00 AM on 7/30 and will close at 12:00 AM on 8/2. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday morning, August 2nd.

I wish you the best of luck this back to school season! Enjoy all these great resources and good luck with the raffle!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Simple Steps on How to Implement STEM in Your Classroom

Hey there, 

    I know you have been hearing about it for some time, or maybe you have tried a STEM project in your classroom before, but STEM is all the rage and it is here to stay for a very good reason. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I am going to share some Simple Steps on How to Implement STEM in Your Classroom

So what is all the hype about? This thoughtful approach to learning the different curriculum has many benefits to students. 

  • Children who learn STEM concepts throughout their educational journey are more prepared for professional expectations in this technology heavy world. 
  • STEM education builds resilience, problem solving skills and growth mindset. Throughout the process students will see the benefits of failure and how it helps their approaches and creativity to develop. 
  • STEM education teaches real world skills. Learning a new skill and being able to apply it immediately in a variety of scenarios is extremely motivating to students. 
  • STEM education promotes teamwork and brings it to a whole new level. Kids with different abilities, unique backgrounds and experiences all come together and have valuable contributions.  

    So... maybe you're still a bit scared. Maybe it seems overwhelming, chaotic and unorganized... Well, I got past all that and I know you can too! Prepare yourself to be involved in what could be one of your favorite teaching experiences as an educator. STEM lessons have brought my students, own children and I so much joy! Have an open mind and be flexible with how things will go. It might feel loud, and it can get messy but just listen in to their conversations and watch their creativity in full swing. It is so worth it! 

Teaching Text Evidence with the book "Blizzard"

  Have you ever been working in a small group or administering a test and students raise their hands to ask, “what does this mean to provide text evidence?” I always tell my students, “that’s how we prove our answer. Text evidence is our proof.” Then I realized, after repeating this over and over, I need to take the time to really explore and teach text evidence directly.   

  There are so many important skills that our kids need to learn in respect to reading comprehension such as retell, author’s purpose, main idea, sequencing, summarizing, theme, characters traits, etc. When reflecting and responding to the questions surrounding these skills students are always asked to provide text evidence to support their claims.

   In order, for us to expect thorough responses we need to create an understanding of what text evidence really means, the vocabulary to respond effectively and time to practice these foundational skills. 

  I decided to create a series of resources on text evidence, featuring mini-lessons, skill practice and application as well as various other extensions surrounding the skill and theme. 

My Mini Lesson

  I think teaching text evidence with both nonfiction and fiction is important. For this mini-lesson I chose the realistic fiction text “Blizzard” by John Rocco. It’s a fun story based on the author’s experiences, through a child’s lens, during the blizzard of 1978.

  Before the lesson begins, I make sure I have my mentor posters displayed and typically a copy next to me that I can refer at the carpet or on the document camera. Some of my favorite mentor posters are included in my text evidence free resource. I also suggest going through the book ahead of time to select some questions you could ask the kids. I would select 5 questions. 

  When you gather with your students, remind them that they will be given questions in which they need to not only answer but be able to prove their answer is right by using text evidence

  I provide questions before I read, especially when I am reading for a specific purpose of comprehension. You can post the questions on the board or on simple sticky notes at the carpet so kids can see. Read the story. Assign a student, groups or partners to specific questions. Have them use one of the sentence starters (included in the freebie) to answer the question using text evidence. 

  Distribute sticky notes to write answers to place under questions on board or have groups just share out. Remind the group/students of what they are responsible for answering. Make sure they know that they will have to provide evidence or proof of when they saw that in the story. I suggest rereading the text so kids can look for those page numbers or specific phrases. 

  Once you have practiced this with your students you can distribute the Text Evidence RACE (Respond, Answer, Cite, Explain) worksheet (provided in freebie) to practice formally responding with text evidence. I would choose one question, and all go through the worksheet together as a class, so students can polish up their responses with support and confidence. Make sure to have the Text Evidence Sentence Starter Poster displayed as a tool for students to use.

  It’s so easy to assume that kids understand these skills or justify briefly touching on their meaning but taking extra time to teach these skills explicitly will pay off, saving you time in the long run, as well as and increasing student confidence and performance. 

  Click on the image below to download this free resource which is a glimpse into my Guided Reading with a Purpose series on Text Evidence with a festive snow theme. 

This FREEBIE is a part of the resource "Blizzard" and also featured in my Text Evidence Bundle with a fun snow theme. Click on either image below to check them out.  

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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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How to Teach about Equality, Diversity and Compassion in an Engaging Way ❤

Hey there friends, 

    Are you looking for ways to teach about equality, diversity and compassion in an engaging way that resonates with your young students? These conversations and lessons breed confidence and worth in our students and help them own their identity and love who they are. Being culturally responsive inside and outside our classroom will increase our students trust and relationship with us and also provide them with effective tools to use when faced with adversity. 

When I want to talk to students about important and possibly sensitive topics I have a few approaches that I take, that lead to successful conversations. 

  1. I like to talk in a community circle or group on the carpet. I like getting down with my kiddos on the floor. I think when we are grouped together as one, it feels more comfortable and kids are more apt to share, communicate, and ask what is on their minds.
  2. I also try to share a personal experience on the topic. When that doesn't lend itself, I share my feelings, hopes, worries, frustrations, with my perspective. When doing this it is important to not portray your feelings as the right way, but as an opinion... your unique perspective based on your personal experiences. Make sure to let kiddos know that their views, ideas and questions may differ from yours. 
  3. I like to use mentor texts or educational videos as a foundation to inspire conversations, as well as to bring up questions. The goal of  teaching about equality, diversity and compassion is to engage students in these important conversations and to keep those conversations going, so they can lead to action. 
  4. I also allow myself to be emotional. There are topics that I cannot simply shut down the way I feel and I believe that is ok. In my experience this has helped my students to connect with me and to realize that it's an important topic that stirs up emotions in people.  
  5. Last, but not least. There is no wrong time to talk about equality, diversity and showing compassion for others. As I said above, the more we talk, the more these words become a part of our everyday language and then these words can be transformed into positive action.   

    These are some of the resources that I have used that not only speak to equality, diversity and compassion, but also hit on the learning standards of central message, author's purpose, lesson, moral, retell and text connections. These resources have conversation starters, comprehension activities, parent connection support, as well as mentor posters, mini-lesson ideas and other fun extensions for writing and art. 


Again, these are my ideas on how to teach about equality, diversity and compassion in an engaging way. I am always open to hear other's ideas and perspectives. That is truly how we grow as educators, learners and leaders. 

Have a great week,