Standard Bell Curve

This month we are talking all about Evaluations, understanding Evaluations, and using those test scores!

THIS WEEK: 

This week we have a visual that helps to explain the bell curve of performance for Standardized Test Scores. It can be really difficult to visualize what these scores mean and so this is a great way to be able to show parents, teachers, or other interventionists how a student is performing in any given domain. If you missed our more in-depth post about how to interpret Evaluation Data check out our blog here!

Literacy Processing Triangle Visual

This month we are talking all about Evaluations, understanding Evaluations, and using those test scores!

THIS WEEK: 

This week we have a visual that we really like that helps explain intervention to our families and also helps us better recognize where specifically a student is struggling. We know that in order for students to read or spell they need to process all the key elements of a word - with lightning speed!

They need to move from phonology (the sounds that make up the word) to orthography (the pictorial shapes we call letters) to semantics (meaning) in less than a second. Using this visual we are able to highlight the specific areas along the literacy triangle in which the student needs remediation.

Accommodations & Modifications Checklist

We are back for a new month of Freebie Fridays that will all be focused around Evaluations, understanding Evaluations, and using those test scores to their fullest. Sometimes you have a gold-mine of data and information in front of you and we want you to use those test results to their fullest!

THIS WEEK: 

We have a list of accommodations and modifications for you. We know these are available all over the place, but what we've done with our list is put it together in a slightly different way. Sometimes it's difficult to know which accommodations or modifications are the best options. We want to be deliberate in which accommodations and modifications we are choosing and why. So this list is categorized by looking at a student's specific struggles and thinking about which accommodations best match those specific struggles.

At-Home Guide to EF Practice

Friday is our favorite day of the week because every Friday we get to give away one of our favorite resources, for FREE. 

Keeping up with May's theme: Executive Functioning (EF), this week we are giving you our EF strategies for parents to do at home! This guide includes tips, tricks and some background as to how to include EF skill development opportunities into your everyday life with your kids. 

Sustained Attention Anchor Charts

Happy Freebie Friday, everybody! If you are new to our page, we release a new free resource every week.  This week, we have a resource for all of you teachers and parents who are trying to help a child learn to stay focused, also known as sustained attention.

Sustained Attention is the skill that refers to being able to stay focused on a task for an extended period of time, even when it is a non-preferred task. We have all had those days where we just cannot seem to stay focused, but for some of our kids, this is a consistent struggle.

Easy to Follow Visual Charts

Happy Freebie Friday! Whether you are a new visitor or check in every week for new resources, we are excited you are here! This week, our free resource is one that has proven helpful in our own homes and we hope that you will love it too! 

This week's Executive Functioning based freebie is our Visual Charts! We have found that our own kids really love using these charts and they have made a huge difference in our home organization. 

Executive Functioning Symptom Checklist

If you follow Smart ALEC Resources, you already know that Friday is our favorite day of the week.  If you are new to our site, Welcome! We are excited that you are here. To explain why Friday is our favorite day, (no it's not because it is the start of the weekend), every Friday we post one of our favorite resources and give it away for FREE.  That's right, each week we have a new resource that you can download and use, available for one week. 

Dragons Love Tacos Receptive & Expressive Language Activities

It’s Friday and you know what that means! We have a Freebie for you! Today’s Freebie ties into our blog post all about Receptive and Expressive Language. If you haven’t seen the blog on Receptive and Expressive Language yet, check it here

Dragons Love Tacos Letter Activities

Fridays are our favorite day of the week here at Smart ALEC Resources because we love getting to share games and activities with you!

This month we are talking about early literacy.  Early literacy is everything a child needs to know about reading and writing before he or she can read or write.

Vocabulary Graphic Organizer

Happy Freebie Friday! If you are new to Smart ALEC Resources, every Friday we release a new free resource.  All month long we have been focusing on Reading Comprehension.  For our final resource this month, we are giving you one of our favorites! 

What is it?

This resource is a vocabulary graphic organizer.    One of the biggest challenges we have faced when working with our students on their comprehension is vocabulary.  It can be difficult for a lot of our students to rely solely on context clues, so before starting a new passage we will always work through any tricky vocabulary words they will come across. 

How We Use It

We start by choosing a word that is relevant to our passage.  For example, in the book Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, we identified the words hatchet, wilderness, dew, crystal and stew. We want to go through each of these words and make sure students fully understand each of the concepts. To do so, we use this graphic organizer and complete the steps listed below. 

To begin, determine whether the word is a noun, verb, adjective, or other part of speech. Then you can dive into defining:

First, what is the category? For a hatchet - the category is a tool. 

Next, what is the function? For a hatchet - the function is to cut or chop.

Freebie 1 crop.png

Then ask the student, "what is this word like?" (synonym) For a hatchet - axe

What is it not like (antonym) For a hatchet - another tool that cuts but isn't the same would be scissors.

Finally, what are two key defining features? A hatchet has a short handle and it is very sharp. 

You can use the same organizer with young students. See what that looks like in this quick video!

What Challenges Might Come Up

Sometimes our students struggle to visualize the vocabulary words. If this happens, we suggest pulling up a picture so they have a visual anchor.  

I Love This Idea! How Can I Get It?

This Freebie has expired, but, we have a great NEW freebie here. 

For other great resources, check out our Teachers Pay Teachers Store or, consider becoming a Smart ALEC Member to receive access to our exclusive Members Only Library and all of our resources. 

Check Back Next Week!

In other exciting news, as April is starting next week we have a new Focus Theme! All of April we will be focusing on Early Literacy. Join us for a Facebook Live on Tuesday when we "spring" into this new theme, and Friday when the first of four freebies is released!

 

 

Reading Comprehension IEP Goal Bank

Happy Freebie Friday! 

All month we have been talking about Reading Comprehension.  For this Freebie Friday we are giving away our Reading Comprehension IEP Goal Bank.

We get so many questions around IEP goals, what they should look like and what they should include. We have compiled this list so when you are in the IEP process you have a variety of goals at your fingertips.  

How We Use It

This list is broken into 3 different categories, Background Knowledge, Self-Monitoring, and Specific Reading Comprehension Strategies. Depending on where your student needs support, choose which categories and goals would be appropriate for your student.  The goals are pre-written with a space to input individualized data points and targets so that the goal can directly reflect the student's needs.

Important Pieces to Note 

Reading Comp IEP Goal Bank

A very important quality of an IEP goal is that it is tailored to a student's individual needs.  We recognize the concern around using templated goals and that some feel this reduces their ability to individualize the IEP. Our list allows you to put in very specific data points and you should only be selecting the goals that fit the specific student. The template ensures that the goals will be measurable without taking away the ability to individualize them to the student. 

I Love This Idea! How Can I Get It?

This freebie has expired. But not to worry, we have tons of resources available in our membership platform if you are interested. If not, and you are just looking for free stuff - we have an awesome freebie available every week.

Be on the lookout for our online course that will dive into all the key components of reading and how they blend together to get the best outcomes for struggling readers.

For other resources, visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store, or, consider becoming a Smart ALEC Community Member to receive access to our exclusive Members Only Library and all of our resources. 

Reading Comprehension Pre-Test for 4th and 5th Graders!

Happy Freebie Friday! In line with March's Reading Comprehension Theme, this week we are giving you a PreTest to use with your 4th and 5th grade students! 

How We Use It

We use this pre-test to get a snapshot of our students' reading comprehension abilities. For this test, we have used a passage from Andrew Clement's book, Frindle and complete a variety of tasks with our students. 

What Areas of Comprehension Does it Cover?

The following sections are evaluated in our pretest.

  • Reading Fluency Running Record 
  • A Variety of Story Elements including but not limited to, Main Idea and Details, Sequencing and Predicting. 
  • Explicit & Implicit Questions 
  • Word Work 
  • a Maze Activity 
  • ...and MORE! 

This download includes both a student and instructor version, and is broken down into sections to make scoring easy! 

How Do I Get It?

This Freebie has expired, we will be launching a reading fluency and comprehension course soon - considering join our email list to hear about all of our amazing opportunities.

For more Smart ALEC Resources, check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store, or, consider joining our Membership Community for access to all of our resources in our exclusive Members Only Library. 

Have a great week, and don't forget to check out our newest blog this Tuesday!

Comprehension Strategies by Grade

Happy Freebie Friday! Following our March theme of Reading Comprehension, this week we are giving away our Comprehension by Grade Level Instructional Guide!

How We Use It

This list of strategies is broken down by grade level based on when it is appropriate to introduce new concepts.  While this indicates when concepts should be introduced, comprehension instruction should be done in a spiral and you should  review the concepts learned in previous grades.  For more information, check out our blog "Comprehension Instruction Should Be Done in a Spiral." 

What Challenges You Might Face

If you have a student/students who are struggling to retain this information, you should incorporate more modeling into your explicit instruction. We also recommend making sure the student is using a text appropriate to their ability. You can still instruct the same concepts based on grade level, but alter the text to fit the students' needs. 

This resource has expired we will be launching a reading fluency and comprehension course where you can receive access to all these awesome materials soon. Join our mailing list to hear about it! In the meantime, check out our TPT store, or join our community for exclusive access to all of our materials! 

Parent - Teacher Conference Checklist

Thank you to everyone who joined us in February as we discussed Phonological Awareness! We had an overwhelmingly positive response and loved hearing from you about what resources were helpful.  

For March, you voted and said that you want us to cover Reading Comprehension.  On Tuesday, we posted our first blog with this theme "The 4 Most Common Reasons for Comprehension Breakdowns."  If you haven't read it yet, you can find it here.

 

How We Use It

We have taken the different breakdowns and made them into a checklist so you can easily narrow down your students' areas of struggle.  

What Challenges Might Come Up

 Weak Decoding Skills - Checklist Image

As you go through the checklist, it is important that you have examples and data to support what you are saying.  For example, if you are going to check the box in the "Weak Decoding Skills" category that says "they are reading more than 5 words inaccurately in a paragraph" you should have some kind of data to support this.  

If you are worried about not having the right resources to support your students' reading comprehension, be sure to check back every Friday as we upload more freebies! 

What You Need To Do

This freebie has expired. To download what we are up to this week click here.  Check back every Friday for our newest resource! 

If you are looking for more resources in the meantime, check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store, or consider joining our Membership Community for access to all of our resources and materials. To join click here!

 

Intermediate Phoneme Segmenting

 Intermediate Phoneme Segmenting

We hope you have loved all of our February Freebies!

Over the last month, we have talked a lot about the importance of phonological awareness for all ages.  If you haven't had a chance to read the blogs from this month, you can click below to catch up! 

Since this is the last week of our Phonological Awareness themed month, we are giving you one of our favorite resources! This week's Freebie Friday giveaway is our Intermediate Phoneme Segmenting Practice! 

How We Use It

Phoneme Segmenting - Kick.PNG

We practice phonological awareness in every lesson with our students.  These cards can make it more engaging because our kids like the pictures. Have the student put a colored dot in the grid for each sound.  In the picture, the word is kick.  There are 3 colored dots because the sounds are /k/ /i/ /k/. 

As your students grow in this area, you can start asking them to manipulate the phonemes.  For example, after they have completed kick, you can say "change the last sound in kick to /d/.  They should exchange their last colored chip for a different one and have /k/ /i/ /d/.  The new word is kid.  

You can also use this resource for spelling practice as well.  When the student has broken the words into phonemes ask them to spell it.  In the example above, we know that the final /k/ sound will be a -ck because it follows a short vowel sound and this is a one syllable word.  

We have also included our Closed Syllable Spelling Rule cards so that you can use this resource as a sorting game.  Ask your students to sort the words based on their last sound. 

 

What Challenges Might Come Up 

 Phoneme Manipulation Blocks

Phoneme segmenting can be really tricky for our struggling readers.  While we often have them tap out their sounds when reading, in this activity we like to use a visual cue (the colored dots) to help them.  If you do not have dots like these, you can use a variety of other resources.  Often we will see teachers/interventionists use blocks like these. If you do not have colored dots/blocks, we encourage you to get creative! One day when I had forgotten to bring my dots I used colored paper clips and the student loved it. 

How to get it

Oh nuts! This freebie has expired. Not to worry, we have a different awesome freebie you can grab for this week.

In other exciting news, we had you all vote on our Facebook and Instagram pages last week about what theme you would like to see for March! We had a tie between Reading Comprehension and Writing Resources so we have decided to do both! March will be all about reading comprehension and we will focus on writing in April. 

As always, check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store or join our Members Only Community for more resources! 

Syllable and Sentence Segmenting!

Syllable and Sentence Segmenting.png

Syllable and sentence segmenting are crucial strategies to help our students become better readers and writers.  

We start by teaching them how to segment their sentences into words so they can discriminate between the individual pieces.  While this skill may seem easy, it can be a struggle for some of our struggling readers.  Think about when you are hearing someone speak in an unfamiliar language.  It can be really difficult to hear where one word stops and another begins.  

As students advance in this skill, syllable segmenting should be introduced.  The ability to break words into syllables will help your child decode the words, therefore helping them read and spell.  

Our freebie this week is designed to enhance your segmenting instruction! We have put together our Syllable and Sentence Segmenting game to make this topic fun and engaging for students.  

Who Should Be Using This?

We know that every classroom is going to have readers that are at varying levels.  That is why this game can be differentiated to fit the needs of your students.  Your most advanced students can be breaking up multisyllable words into individual syllables, while your struggling students can start with the sentence segmenting.  

How We Use It 

Sentence segmenting is explicitly instructed in our beginner curriculum.  This game is a great addition because it creates engagement and allows us to practice these skills with our students in a more exciting way.  Our students working through our intermediate curriculum are explicitly taught syllable division, so the syllable segmenting half of the game is a great addition to our lessons.  If our students are struggling in either area, we will use this game to help enhance our lessons and instruction. 

Be Prepared for This Challenge...

This skill can be really tricky for our kids, especially those that are struggling.  In the free download we have provided pages with blank white squares.  We use these and colored game chips to help our students keep track of the different words and syllables. The visual cue can help them make the connects we are trying to build. 

What You Need To Do

This freebie has expired, but don't worry - we have lots of other awesome free stuff for you. Check out this week's freebie here!  If you are looking for more resources to support your Phonological Awareness instruction, you can check back next week for another freebie! You can also check out our Teachers Pay Teachers Store, or become a Smart ALEC Community Member for access to all of our resources. 

Rhyme Discrimination and Production Activities

 Need help with Rhyme Discrimination or Rhyme Production? This Freebie is perfect for you!

Happy Freebie Friday! Keeping with February's theme, Phonological Awareness, our new Freebie is a Rhyming Activity! 

How Do We Use It?

This week's freebie has both rhyme discrimination and rhyme production pieces making it great for all of your students. Those that are struggling with Phonological Awareness will benefit from the rhyme discrimination portion.  We have included both pictures and words to help individualize the level of instruction. You can even play this as a game to increase the child's engagement.  Use the sorting chart and have students sort the cards into either "yes they rhyme" or "no, they don't rhyme" groups. 

If you are looking for an activity that focuses more on Orthography, the rhyme production portion will be perfect.  The student receives either a picture or a word and is asked to come up with a word that rhymes. 

What Complications Might Come Up, and How We Handle Them. 

We know that our dyslexic students often struggle with rhyming.  This is a skill that needs to be monitored and sometimes explicitly taught.  For a tip on how to teach rhyming to your students that struggle with it, check out our blog: What to do When Your Student Can't Hear the Rhyme. 

 This card is intended to say "ant, plant." If your student sees the ant and says "bug" you can either go with that and say "no, those don't rhyme" or ask them to think of the bug's name that rhymes with plant.  

Something else we have noticed is that often our kids will see the pictures and mistake it for another word.  For example, on our card intended to be "ant, plant" a student might say "bug, plant."  If the child says this, then go ahead and sort it into the "no, they don't rhyme" category.  Then you can say, "what if we said ant, plant, do those rhyme?" and redirect the attention back to what the card was intended to be. You can also say, "what is the name of the bug that rhymes with plant?" for students who you feel like would benefit from rhyme production practice as well.  If your student is not at that level yet, then feel free to go with their original idea, "bug, plant" and sort that into the no category. 

What You Need To Do

Oh man! This freebie is expired, but don't worry we have tons of other awesome stuff coming your way. See what we have on tap for this week!

If you are looking for more information to support your Phonological Awareness instruction, we post a new blog and Facebook Live every Tuesday.  Click here to check out our past blogs, and here to check out our Smart ALEC Resources Facebook page! 

We will be releasing a new free resource every week, but to find helpful resources right now, check out our Teachers Pay Teachers store, or join our Smart ALEC Community! Community Members get exclusive access to our Members Only Library with hundreds of resources available for you to download. 

We hope you have a great week and we will see you next Friday! 

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