Martin Luther King

I am so thankful that Dr. King lived.
I can love and marry anyone I want to, without thinking about race.
I am paid equally.
I can sit at the table of brotherhood with anyone.
  I deeply appreciate the sacrifice he and his family made for us.
He is one of my heroes.




It’s always nice to see the art that the REAL kids make.
They did a great job. 
I am ready for them to read all about MLK for next week’s fluency.
Here is our “Hero Wall” and Timeline.

I keep their fluency graphs up from last month, so the kids can
compare their growth month to month. 
Pages slide into sheet protectors from the right.
I took the real graphs out to protect privacy…

This graphing and comparing gets my kids motivated,
but not to beat each other, rather to outdo themselves.
First graders don’t believe that they can do anything hard.
They just don’t.
They have not had the life experiences that teach
them that practice makes perfect….
or nearly perfect…

I give them that experience through fluency practice.
  We talk about the power of rereading.
fluency heart

I use this silly “heart/ brain” picture to illustrate
how each time we read the
same passage, our brain understands more information, and
we can read more words per minute.
This is because we are  becoming more comfortable
with the fluency passage.
Thus, our hearts and brains fill up each time we read.
I see the kids drawing their own hearts on the back of their fluency
passages and after each reread they darken in the heart to
represent more knowledge going in their brain/hearts. {sweet}
My students have decided it takes 4-6 reads to become an expert
and fill up your heart/ brain with info.
Sounds like a good number to me.
We read each passage about 3x daily for an entire week.
1. alone
2. together
3. with our 3rd grade buddy
Every day we do this, so actually, it adds up to at least 15 rereads.
That’s why I write social studies and science fluency.
They might as well learn something meaningful !
I love fluency.
They love fluency.

The fluency is ChAllEnGiNg, but they attack it like beasts!
My kids are HuNgRy to reread, and they become
very engaged in any reading lesson when I tell them,
“This strategy will help your fluency….”
Love, LOVE, LoVe, engagement during strategy lessons.
Speaking of love. I am in love with our timeline of the heroes we will
be covering for the next 13 weeks of fluency.
timeline melonheadz colored

So cute ! ! ! My students are pouring over any biography book they
can find, now that I put the timeline up.
One of my boisterous boys screamed (like a little girl)
“She has Lincoln books!”
They have been discussing that Washington is not wearing a hat.
One of my sweetie boys said, “It’s because we are inside
and we don’t wear hats inside.” {cute}
I did not have the heart to point out that Lincoln is wearing a hat.
So is Johnny Appleseed…
Well, kind of…
Maybe a pot does not count as a hat????

I am so proud of my two most recent fluency units.
I believe that these have made my students
become better readers since my Guided Reading time has been
stretched sooooo thin by 10 kids joining my class.

Thank you, Jose Lacayo for PuShInG me toward doing
fluency practice and drills 3 years ago
and for bringing your students to my room
for 5 minutes!

That is 25 minutes of 1 on 1 reading time a week for each child!
If I did that with each child... let me get a calculator....
30 kids....5 min per kid.... 5 times a week.........
It is 750 minutes of 1 on 1 reading a week.
It’s just a thought…
I’m not the BoSs of ApPleSaUcE…
Do what you want with your own class…
If you have not considered doing daily fluency buddies,
then you might want to.
It has been amazing for my students.
ReAliTy ChECk !
By the way 4 of my kids are NOWHERE near reading these passages
so they read the HM Phonics readers and their sight word lists
as fluency practice.
There will always be 3-5 kids in AnY ClaSsRoOm who can’t do what all
the other kids are doing….
fact of life…
What's your ace in the hole to help your students
become better readers???
To read about this unit in action in second grade please visit Amy's blog


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  2. So I just bought your unit and I L-O-V-E it. I can't wait to start with MLK next week! This has really opened my eyes to focusing on fluency. I know fluency is the one thing I lack in my instruction. Thanks for opening my eyes and giving me great ideas!

  3. Katie,
    My students and I loved the Mammals of the Woods unit. We ended up glueing them into our notebooks so that they could have them to reread whenever they had free time. I CANNOT wait to get my hands on the American Heroes unit. It's on my wishlist just calling my name!!!
    Thanks for all this advice! The timeline is such a great way to connect all the learning. Just amazing!

    Learning In Wonderland

  4. Thank you for being a "real" teacher! I have been doing fluency with my students for 20 years! (We didn't always call it fluency...just depended on the acronym of the publisher for that year.) I tell my students over & over...YOU CAN'T GET BETTER AT ANYTHING, UNLESS YOU PRACTICE! Your thoughfulness & thinking outside the box (bringing in older studets to help), will make your students better learners! Thanks for the advice! Wendy

  5. Wendy, you might be my new favorite person! Thank you for commenting on my blog. I am a HUGE believer in fluency practice!!!!! It is nice to meet a fellow fluency die-hard! All the rereading might not be glamorous, but it makes a huge difference in their skills and also in what they are able to remember about the topic. Thanks for sharing your 20 years of experience with us!

  6. Mrs Sheehan and Breanna, please let me know how it goes!!!!

  7. I"m a Kindergarten teacher and love your MLK craft! so cool! Any chance being able to buy that craft pattern?

  8. Bought this American Heroes pack as soon as you posted it and SO very excited to see my firsties use the activities! Thank you for making such a quality product!!! SUPER PUMPED!!!
    Funky Fresh Firsties

  9. I just discovered your blog through Pinterest! I found your awesome American Heroes pack and I'm off to TPT to get it!

    I am your newest follower, and gave you a shout-out on my blog. Drop by and check it out!

    First Grade Magic

  10. Love your timeline! Uber cute! And I'd love to know more about fluency buddies. We do guided reading in groups everyday, partner reading, and fresh reads (cold reading passages about twice a week with comprehension questions), but i'd love to know more....

    The Lightbulb Lab

  11. Yesterday I talked to my kids about reading more than once. And did the heart. They thought it was cool, and they were cool with reading the same book as yesterday. Thanks for the idea!

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

  12. Hello! Where do I find the pattern for the MLK, Jr. craftivity that is shown above?

    J. Nunley


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