HQTS: Making Literacy Toolkits

announcements, creating, literacy, professional resources, reading, writing


At the last PD day a couple weeks ago, the literacy coaches organized a variety of stations focusing on writing about reading. Teachers spent the majority of the morning exploring resources like the Literacy Continuum and Learning Progressions, analyzing student work, and calibrating assessment. They collected tons of ideas about what students need to be able to do as writers about reading and data about what their students were showing them. So what next? Here is where a toolkit will be a lifesaver.

If you’re a member of the Units of Study Facebook groups (if you haven’t joined them yet, DO IT!), I’m sure you’ve noticed people sharing ideas, asking questions about, and creating meetups for these toolkits. It’s a notebook, binder, or any kind of collection of tools you can use to support students’ literacy skills and strategies.

Based on your students’ demonstrations and understandings and your knowledge of what gets tricky for your unit/topic, you create a set of tools to support small group or one-on-one instruction. These tools are your teaching focuses, often a skill or strategy from a whole group minilesson with more scaffolds in place. The tools might get used during a small group lesson for which you’ve planned or you might pull one specific tool out to support an individual student that you noticed needing additional support during a conference. They are flexible and adaptable, which makes them incredibly useful.

Our HQTS Work



During our HQTS, we’ll explore resources, materials, and ideas to inspire us before getting into toolkit creation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options, so I’ll be sharing the best of the best so you don’t have to weed through a bunch of Teachers Pay Teachers nonsense.

There will be so many things to consider: the focus of your toolkit (Reading fiction? Writing nonfiction? Theme? So many options.), the best tool for the job (Mini anchor chart? Microprogression? Leave-behind for students? Demonstration text?)  A toolkit that covered all of reading would be an inefficient beast. Instead, consider making a toolkit for nonfiction and fiction or even each unit. Whatever focus you choose, I’ll have sample toolkit pages for you to adapt, and as you create more, we’ll add to our Padlet to continue inspiring us.

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The thing I love most about starting a literacy toolkit is that it inspires you in so many new ways. When our HQTS is over, you’ll have at least one toolkit ready to use with students. However, I know it will also change and grow over time, and you may even leave with ideas for so many more toolkits.

Interested? Sign up here.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Virtual Book Club

after school activities, announcements, reading, summer

harry potter LEGOS

Anyone who knows me knows that MY most recommended book from the  2015 Battle of the Books list is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I’m using “philosopher’s stone” instead of sorcerer’s stone for several reasons: I used to live in England and that’s the title they use there, it’s the title in the version linked below, and the author, J.K. Rowling, wrote the book with that title). Anyone who knows me also knows that I resisted reading this magical series for YEARS because I didn’t think I would like it. “Modern fantasy just isn’t my genre,” I used to argue. However, I knew that I would have to read the series eventually to help future students who might read it. So last summer, I finally began the reading journey, and I fell in love with the characters, adventures, and heart.

Are you ready to start this magical series? Let’s read the first book together this summer! There are several ways to get your hands on the book. You can check it out from the Middleboro Public Library, stop by the school offices this summer to borrow the book for free (just return it so others can devour it, too!), or get one at your local thrift shop (they almost always have a copy at Savers, The Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul Society, or Goodwill). Once you have your copy, I recommend reading the book with a friend or listening to the amazing British actor, Stephen Fry, perform as he reads the ENTIRE book aloud on YouTube (the recording is over eight hours long!):

To participate in this book club over the summer, have your parent fill out the form with his/her email address to receive book club news, questions, and activities over the summer!

Happy reading!