Hey friends! I wanted to share with you a few tricks I've used over the years. Sometimes everything cannot be colored ink and graphics. Sometimes you just need simple, but effective ideas.
One thing I always keep in my binder is these little response cards. It's so easy for the kids to write about the story or the word work we were doing for the day. To make them, just download them HERE. Just print and insert into a sheet protecter and you are DONE. Store them inside your reading binder for easy access.
One day I was found an entire box, like a big box, of index cards. So I started thinking of ways I could use them effectively. At the time, my students were not taking the entire "Read To Self" time seriously. They would "pretend" read or not think about the story while reading it. This had to be fixed PRONTO, so I was excited when I found the cards. I needed a way to spice it up while keeping the time useful. I made these labels and added them to my color coded index cards. I've found so many uses for these cards. I started with them in the "Read to Self" Center. Students had to pick two cards to act out once they finished a book & before starting a new one. I've also kept them inside my guided reading binder, and used them in the "I'm Finished" bin.
Another easy DIY activity to implement is these Rhyme Time mats.
I just printed them on colored yardstick and placed them into a sheet protector. I use these as a warm up activity for guided reading. It's easy to skip some of the basic skills when our students are on or above grade level, but rhyming should not be one of those things. No matter where my students are reading, I always teach them rhyming skills. It's important for students to look in the patterns of words and recognize these features. It teaches them to actually think about the words and the similarities in other words.