Save at TpT – today and tomorrow only!

In case you’ve been truly unplugged this summer and are in denial about the school year that’s about to begin, you may not know that for the next two days Teachers Pay Teachers is having their back to school sale. You don’t want to miss these prices! TpT discounts everything on the site, and individual sellers like yours truly offer additional discounts on their wonderful products. This is THE BEST TIME to purchase resources from TpT. Don’t miss out! You can find my store here, and don’t forget to check out my new Super Task Cards!

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New Products on Teachers Pay Teachers, Available Now!

I am beyond excited about my new Super Task Cards! that are now available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site! It’s been faaaaaar toooooo looooong since I posted a new product to my TpT store, so thanks for hanging in there during my hiatus. I hope you’ll check out the three sets of task cards I’ve created to help students practice foundational reading skills outlined in the K-2 Common Core. I had so much success using task cards like these in my classroom and how I’m so happy to share them with all of you. 🙂

Stay tuned for more task cards, games, and other literacy centers that are sure fire wins in primary classrooms. They’re on their way, I promise! In the meantime, check out the associated resources here for free!


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A Can’t Miss Tool for Common Core

In classrooms across the US teachers are working hard to implement the Common Core standards and now there is a tool that can really help. The SOAR Teaching Frames™ help teachers, administrators, and coaches to develop a shared understanding of instructional practices that are essential in the standards and build a vision of the Common Core in action. Watch the video below to learn about the Frames, associated rubrics, and online learning and calibration platform that brings the Common Core to life in today’s classrooms.


Teacher Appreciation Abounds

For those of you who may not know, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope you’ll take the time to send a message or extend a kind gesture toward a special teacher in your life. We all have them either through our own educational experience or in the lives of our children. I hope you’ll brighten the day of a teacher you know!

A very talented teacher I am lucky enough to work with just made my day with a kind email. She said, “As we go into day 2 of testing, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all your help in getting us ready! I keep walking around thinking how worse off it would have been without your input and guidance! On behalf of room 34, thank you!”

Seriously, made my day!


Free Instructional Coaching Course – Register Now!

A free course will be available soon from Resourcing Excellence in Education (REEd) at the University of California, Davis School of Education that introduces participants to the importance of coaching within a professional learning system. This course serves as an introduction to coaching and thought about how a school or district might begin the journey toward implementing coaching roles in their learning communities.

It’s online, it’s self-paced, and it’s free! What more could you ask for? Check it out at the link below:

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Yet Another Blurb with EL Magazine – online

This is one of my favorite tidbits that has been published yet because it highlights the rich, purposeful work that happens every day at my favorite school – Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento, California. Cheers!

Tell Me About How Your Group Examined Student Work – Emerging Patterns


Another Blurb in EL Magazine!

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I was sifting through the mail earlier this week and was glad to see that my copy of the March 2016 issue of Educational Leadership magazine had arrived. And I was even more pleased when I realized that they published my response to their “Tell Me About…” section! This month’s issue is about life-long learning and their question was “Tell Me How You Help Students Gain Life Skills”. My response is below. 🙂 How do you help your students gain skills they’ll use their whole life long?

EL Magazine Life Skills March 2016


High-Impact Practices for Literacy: A Free Professional Learning Opportunity

For the past year or so I’ve been involved in an exciting project that has enormous potential for improving the teaching and learning of literacy in our schools. The SOAR (Strategic Observation and Reflection) Teaching Frames™ for Literacy are a research-based tool that articulates instructional practices that have the greatest impact on student achievement and address the Common Core Standards. The Frames clearly define those practices and the professional growth continuum associated with them, and the approach includes learning opportunities for all educators in a system of professional growth.

Register for a free webinar held on February 11, 2016!


The link below will now take you to the recorded webinar, including contact information to learn more!

SOAR Teaching Frames™

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U.S. Teaching Ambassadors

Take a look at this post on the U.S. Department of Education’s blog by my multi-talented friend Nancy Veatch. Nancy is serving as a U.S. Teaching Ambassador Fellow this year and is sharing her expertise with folks in Washington DC and all over the country. Way to represent!

Calling on All to Lift Up the Teaching Profession

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The Best Resource for Common Core Writing is Finally Here!

I am beyond excited to share a remarkable and extremely valuable resource that’s available free online. It’s called Understanding Proficiency, and it’s fantastic!

Of course, I’m biased because I was one of the lucky educators who helped develop the content for the site. But I think you’ll quickly see how valuable the materials are for teachers, administrators, coaches, you name it! It’s the resource I’ve wished for since the Common Core standards were released in 2010. Understanding Proficiency gives us an in-depth look at real student work on Smarter Balanced performance tasks. Authentic student samples are shared and include scores using the research question scoring criteria and the full-write rubrics. Better still are the scoring rationales that accompany each writing sample that explain why the sample received a particular score. We’re talking majorly valuable!

The site also includes videos of educators reflecting on what these tasks mean for our students and the implications on our classroom instruction and professional learning. All the materials are free to download and share. Please share! They can be used for staff development, professional learning communities, scoring practice, and can be shared with students and parents (all SBAC materials are those that have been released to the general public through their site).

Here’s a press release about the site:

WestEd, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE), is proud to introduce a new resource designed to support educators in analyzing and learning from student work on performance tasks. Understanding Proficiency ( features actual student scored responses to the Smarter Balanced performance tasks, annotated by practicing educators and illustrate the full range of proficiency levels for each performance task.

The purpose of Understanding Proficiency is to leverage the Smarter Balanced performance tasks to support professional development that can help operationalize the College and Career Ready Standards in order to inform and enhance instruction for all students. The website also features videos and professional development tools to support teachers in using these resources to improve instructional practice.

Understanding Proficiency was developed with a generous grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Understanding Proficiency features student work for English Language Arts (ELA), in grades 3-8 and 11, at all score points. We look forward to adding math resources in the spring.

Please take a few moments to explore the site (I promise you’ll want to stay a while) and don’t hesitate to contact me here at to ask questions, share thoughts, and explore ideas for how to use Understanding Proficiency in your context.  Enjoy!


Understanding Proficiency