Gettin’ Nerdy With Some Great Titles!

Often times, I’m asked about great titles, book suggestions for primary and intermediate grades, and general read alouds.  Here is a “go to” source that keeps a running list of great titles that are perfect for both home and school! Every year, they put titles into categories that make searching easy and fun.  If you’re interested in reading reviews, finding a few new and exciting titles, or just curious about a book to purchase for a loved one, this will helpful for you! Enjoy!


Why Should Your Child be Reading Each Day?

Although I’m not always a big fan of the homework that is given to children, I am a HUGE supporter of the importance of reading at home.  This study shows the impact of only 20 minutes of reading per day.  It all adds up! (click image to see at a larger scale)


Also, courtesy of Kelly Gallagher’s work in the text Deeper Reading (2004), check out additional reasons by clicking the link below.  Reading is ESSENTIAL!

Kelly Gallagher’s Reasons to Read-2lg4jj0

“The Kids Should See This!”

Interacting with your child can pose some difficulties at times.  As a parent, I will ask my child, “How was your day?” or “What have you been learning in school?” and will often get a mediocre response and, dare do I say, sometimes just a grunt.  Is it that I’ve become that uninteresting that we don’t have valuable and worthwhile conversations?  I’m not really sure, but I do know that I’ve got to come up with something to build memories of exploring our world and sparking interests for possible careers and empathy.  So, I bring you my newest solution and one that was recently shared with me through a professional development session:  “The Kids Should See This!” website.

This website is about building curiosity and conversation through the reading of articles that are both interesting and informative.  The website offers a constant feed of engaging titles on it’s main page; however, it also provides more focused topics to help align to your interests.  For example, your child might be interested in technology, animals, art, or food; the website has organized these at the top of the page for easy access.  As you click on the topics, you’ll notice that there are short video clips to support learning, as well as, additional links for continued curiosity.   This is how genuine research and the journey of learning takes place within a child.  What better way for you to do this together?! Check it out!

Kindergarten Parent Overview Powerpoint

Did you miss out on the Kindergarten Parent overview on Saturday, August 26th?  Are you wondering what was covered and discussed on that day?  Wonder no more! I’ve been experimenting with a new way to keep parents informed with Powerpoint’s “Office Mix!”  This software allows me to voice over each slide to share basic information and to keep you informed.  Just click on and watch!

ABCs of Kindergarten 2017 With Voice Over1-2eonv4s

A Grant For Reflection

UPDATE (November 29, 2017): We are receiving funding for this project through Cobb County’s IMPACT grant! This funding is courtesy of Cobb EMC’s Community Foundation and the Cobb Schools Foundation.  Here is a picture of what we’ll be receiving to enhance our instructional practices! Our kit will include an ipad mini, with appropriate software enhancements, and the swivl robot, which allow teachers and students to record instruction and learning throughout the classroom.

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to write a Donor’s Choose grant that requests materials for video reflection.  This project will allow teachers to record their teaching and reflect upon what he/she sees; thus, making changes to instructional practices.  If you’d like to check it out OR, even better yet, if you’d like to donate and double up (promo code: “LIFTOFF” for the next 7 days), click the picture below!

Happy Reading AND Reflecting!

Marnia Letendre

EOG Study Guides for Parents

What are we doing to prepare your 3rd, 4th, and/or 5th grader for the End of Grade (EOG) assessment?  Well, we’re doing MANY things! We are teaching with a balanced literacy approach, which means our students are reading, writing, speaking and listening on and about texts.  This is happening daily, which means your child is having rigorous experiences surrounding grade level texts and are being asked to speak and write about that understanding.  This is essential for the preparation of the GA Milestones (EOG assessment) as our students are being asked to do just that within a short time frame.

Even at the beginning of the year, we are asking students to build up stamina with reading and writing about such texts.  We ask students to share and justify their thinking by referring back to the text for their evidence.  Additionally, we ask students to defend their thinking by citing evidence from the text within their speaking and writing.  Teachers are working hard to provide these opportunities and are scaffolding these experiences throughout the year to build upon their understanding.

What can you do at home to support your child with this journey?  You can take a peek at these great study guides, provided by the Georgia Department of Education (GAdoe).  Feel free to download these study guides to have as examples of the rigorous questions your child will encounter in April of 2018’s EOG assessment.  Feel free to use these documents as talking points with your child and challenge both yourself and your child with possibilities for answer, based upon text evidence.

3rd Grade EOG Study Guide 2017-2018

4th Grade EOG Study Guide 2017-2018

5th Grade EOG Study Guide 2017-2018

Do you have more questions about the GA Milestones?  If so, talk with your child’s teacher about other resources and ways that you can, specifically, help your child.  Also, feel free to contact me about strategies your child might use to help build stamina and understanding of difficult texts.

Happy Studying!

Mrs. Letendre 🙂

Mentor Sentences Are Awesome!

We are on a roll with mentor sentences! If you haven’t seen this in action, you’re missing out! Check out this podcast, with Jeff Anderson, describing the rationale of mentor sentences and the book that started it all. Jeff explains that mentor sentences are meant for students to notice how an author uses grammar and mechanics in a way that helps the reader understand the text.

J anderson

Let me know if you’d like to have this modeled within your classroom or if you’d like to take a look at your current mentor text and plan out how to text lift a sentence that meets your grade-level requirements.

Mrs. Letendre

Smithsonian’s “Tween Tribune”

Who wants to read boring articles about topics that mean nothing to the reader?  No one.  Many adults have the privilege of having access to websites that provide interesting articles that even sifts into categories that you’ve plugged in as “interesting.”  So, why don’t we have this same capability for students?  Are there sites similar to “Reddit,” “Newsvine,” and “Flipboard” that provide opportunities like this for kids?  YES! Check out this site, Smithsonian’s “Tween Tribune.”  (


This website includes Lexile levels to assist in making sure that students are reading “just right” text.  At the top of the page, it allows the reader to sort by grade levels and lists topics that are both engaging and informational.  Each article provides tiered passages that address the same topic, but can help with differentiating by level.

Although there is some access for parents, the site will ask for teachers to login for additional articles and resources.  This might be just what you were looking for to include that close reading lesson! 🙂 Enjoy!

Mrs. Letendre

Pitner’s Balanced Literacy Approach

Cobb is excited to share a common thread of balanced literacy, math, and content areas.   Pitner has been moving in this direction for several years and are happy to say that we’re continuing this journey through additional professional learning opportunities for our teachers and implementation with our students.

Are you interested in what this looks like?  Check out these presentations to find out:

Writing Workshop Overview Presentation Link:

Reading Workshop Overview Presentation Link:

Happy Reading and Writing!

Marnia Letendre