Work Hack: Wire Ties

I like to be as organized as I can and one thing that drives me crazy are computer cords. There can be so many… I’ve tried using rubber bands to keep them together but over time they break apart and the thin twist ties are not my favorite.

That’s why I love Elite Tech Gear Gear Ties. They are very easy to use

Wire Ties

and faster to tie and untie than the typical twist ties. I use these everywhere at home now, too.

I purchase them on Amazon:

EliteTechGear Twist Ties For Organizing Your Gear 8-Pack 3 Inch (Multicolored) 


I love them!! They make my work station seem much cleaner and gives me greater sanity.


Forced Reading Assignments – A No!

I’m taking a SPOT class this summer. One of our assignments is to read five trade books for our grade level and an eight square reading reflection on each book.

So far, out of the four books I have finished reading, I have enjoyed only one of them. The other four, I really did not enjoy. Quarter to mid-way, I realized how much I don’t prefer reading these specific books  (the characters, the tone, the themes, the plot, etc.) On my own accord, I would abandon them but since reading five of these books is required for the class, I pludge right on through finishing them. Page by page trying to finish these books, my distaste grows and grows.

Having just finished another one of these books I did not enjoy, I am beginning to not enjoy reading!!!!!!!!!!

This is what it must feel like for students having to read assigned chapter books. It’s laborious and makes me want to run away from books! Don’t do this to your students!!

  • Note: The SPOT class offers a wide variety of trade books to choose from. My co-worker and I are sharing them and she was kind enough to keep the supplies in her room closet. I randomly chose five to bring home for the summer. If I had access, I would have gladly traded out the books but don’t currently have that option.

5th Year: Parent Volunteers

Big Hit: Novel Groups!

This past school year, I had parent volunteers continue with listening to students read and asking comprehension questions, practice math fact fluency, and prepare the Friday Folders.

I also did something new where I had the parents lead novel groups (resources used by Laura Candler). This was a big hit! The students loved these novel groups. They felt ownership of their books and the assignments given. I also like it because these groups are heterogeneous, based off their own interest, and they created in-depth discussions and connections. I also love these novel groups because I think it is natural and similar to how adults participate with book clubs.

Donalyn Miller from Reading in the Wild writes, “When students read together every day, they forge strong bonds through shared reading experiences that help them define themselves as members of a reading tribe,” (Miller, 2014, p. 9).

Love anything that promotes more reading!

Love These

Not necessities, but I love incorporating the following (the students do, too):

  • Responsive Classroom’s strategy of “quiet time” or “downtime”. I called it “Wind-down Time.”
    • I liked this a lot. It makes sense to have some time to calm down and allow your brain to be ready to transition to the next activity.

Reading is Important

Information provided by Maria Arguelles from a class reminds me how crucial wide reading is for students:

  • Reading 14 minutes a day means reading over 1,000,000 words a year.
  • “Research has shown that children who read even 10 minutes a day outside of school experience substantially higher rates of vocabulary growth between second and fifth grade than children who do little or no reading.” (Anderson & Nagy, 1992 – p. 46)
  • “Of 100 familiar words met in reading, a reader may learn 3-15 using context.” (Beck, McKoewn, & Kucan, 2002)