Literacy Links – Volume 88

coaching, literacy links, math workshop, reading, writing
KV’s post box for our Connection unit in Impact Workshop (formerly known as social studies)

One of my favorite memories from my own kindergarten experience was a Valentine’s Day station rotation that imitated the process mail goes through to travel from one home to another. So when I started planning a unit on connecting with others as part of my Better Lesson coaching, I knew it would involve some kind of mail system. When my family got some new cabinets to DIY an island in our kitchen, I knew an empty box would make a perfect post office. It was kismet.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links -Volume 86

book list, coaching, early literacy, literacy links, math workshop, reading
One of my daily slides for our week of remote learning.

For the week after Thanksgiving, our district was remote. Remote is not the end of the world, but it is very different from in-person pandemic teaching (and light years away from teaching in The Before). The structure and routines that I teach students in class don’t necessarily translate to remote teaching. One of the biggest missing elements is turn and talk, an essential element of my classroom since I believe learning floats on a sea of talk. Remote teaching ends up being uncomfortably teacher-centered. But other routines could easily work in a remote environment, like using my name sticks to call on students to avoid Zoom chaos. I feel so foolish for needing a whole week to realize this, but that’s my brain’s processing speed in The Now. Here’s to a better online learning session next time.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 85

literacy links, math workshop, play, reading, writing
DIY rainbow nails for my first week teaching kindergarten

While it’s day 38 of the school year, it’s only MY fourth day of teaching kindergarten(ever!), and I’m totally in love. Some of my teacher friends from years’ past might be SHOCKED by this fervent feeling since there was a time that I only ever considered moving UP from fifth grade. But over my six years of coaching, I have spent a lot of time in kindergarten classrooms, and I have truly fallen in love with the grade. It doesn’t hurt that my first class and their families are INCREDIBLE. I’m so very lucky.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 84

book list, literacy links, math workshop
The sign = the rainbow connection scrap

A few weeks ago, I learned that I would be teaching kindergarten in November if the School Committee approved a new proposal. They approved, and a two week countdown began. Between monster cutting and laminating sessions, I decided to collage a cover for a kindergarten notebook for all of my ideas, to-do lists, and PD. I usually collage my PD notebooks, so whenever I find an image, quote, pattern, logo, etc. that strikes me, I stash it in a folder for my future covers. So I pulled out my folder, and the image above is what I found. I nearly gasped. I’d already decided on a rainbow theme for my room and the biggest word scrap in my pile said “the rainbow connection”. I took it as a sign, and I felt so much excitement.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

SMP #3

math workshop, professional resources, technology

I created my very first glog (I created a trial week-long Glogster account), and it’s about Standard of Mathematical Practice #3: Construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others. This SMP is my favorite because I believe it has the greatest impact on students’ learning across ALL subjects. When students have to discuss their reasoning, they all benefit. See what these students shared in their exit slips after a whole-class share of work on a low floor high ceiling problem from youcubed:

I love that they used words/phrases like: “get more ideas for later” and “yet.” This implies that not only were they engaged with the task, but they also benefitted from the discussion because it “gave me an idea.”

Students can share in a variety of ways:

  • whole class after a week of working on the problem during Math Workshop
  • small group work – this way a teacher can hear the math talk and encourage students to share with the whole class later
  • fish bowl discussion – all students can benefit from reflecting on what went well and what could be better

How do you get students to share their reasoning or the critique reasoning of others?

Math Vocabulary Stations

math stations, math workshop, professional resources, vocabulary, writing

I recently developed a math workshop lesson on math vocabulary using the ideas discussed in “Four Practical Principles for Enhancing Vocabulary Instruction” and “Oral Language Needs: Making Math Meaningful.” Using this information as inspiration, I created several stations focusing on practicing math vocabulary: Visual Dictionary, Vocabulary Tic-Tac-Toe, Connect Two, Vocabulary Magnets, and Math Revising.


In my experience, introducing one station per day and culminating with actual rotations, where groups of students visit different stations, on the last day of the week helps management because the teacher can float to different stations to monitor and reinforce routines and expectations. However, I threw all of these stations at students on one day in order to show the classroom teacher all of the options quickly, and for the most part, they were successful–students were engaged and practiced vocabulary! Here are more details, including pictures, materials, and general directions, for each of the stations listed above:

Visual Dictionary



Materials: index cards, chart paper, for later – ziploc bag or ring

General directions: After focus lesson on key vocabulary word, students draw a picture and write a sentence describing how their pictures represents the key word. Teacher reviews cards for formative assessment, returns cards once they are accurate, and students collect in Ziploc bag or on a ring to use as a resource.

Vocabulary Tic-Tac-Toe


Materials: word wall, individual whiteboard with tic-tac-toe board made with electrical tape, dry erase marker, dry erase eraser

General directions: Students record vocabulary words on tic-tac-toe board. To place their X or O, students need to define, give an example of, etc. the word.

Vocabulary Magnets


Materials: word wall, magnet letters, magnetic surface (radiator, side of file cabinet, extra whiteboard, cookie sheet, etc.)

General directions: Students use the word wall to practice spelling the words to gain familiarity and lose anxiety about using the words in discussion or writing. After they’ve practiced the words, they play Jumble (choose a word from the wall, mix up the magnet letters, and partner has to guess the word) or Hangman with a partner.

Connect Two


Materials: word wall, Connect Two paper

General directions: Students work in a group to discuss everything they know about all of the words on the word wall. After the discussion, they work independently to choose two words and describe how the two words are connected.

Math Revising

Materials: a piece of math writing, Math Revising Rubric, red pen

General directions: Students self-assess a piece of their math writing using the rubric and providing evidence for the score. They revise their writing, and then score the revised draft.

These stations are easily adaptable to other content areas. In addition, they don’t need to be done as a set. Instead, you could add just one of them to your Math Workshop station rotation to reinforce math vocabulary.

How could you use or adapt these stations to meet the needs of your Vocabulary Virtuosos?