Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

Independent Consultant sharing my learning with others. Please scroll way down to follow me!!


What I’ve Been Reading

Simple yet Effective Reading Anchor Charts

As I continue my adventures as an independent consultant, I find myself reaching for Jennifer Serravallo’s book The Reading Strategies Book, more and more.  Her lessons are so easy to understand and prepare. Teachers need to know where their students are based on Fountas and Pinnell data, decide what they need and look it up in her book. She has so many ideas to help teachers co-construct an anchor chart and send all ages of readers off to work

Here are a couple of anchor charts I have created to teach with, from Jennifer’s book.

  • students having their own book mark where their reading goals are clearly laid out,
  • choosing the perfect spot to read in students are able to see what success will look like and the teacher is able to co-construct with the class while allowing for differentiation.
  • the lesson on what to do with bold words is so practical , as many readers gloss right over them instead of seeing those words as a tool to help them understand.
  • Paying attention to ending punctuation teaches students to change their voice and also practice scanning the sentences as they read

Make sure you take a look at her book and see her ideas and processes!


Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain


I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about this book this fall. I am impressed by how doable Hammond makes it. From being reflective and aware of ourselves and how our cultures influence us, to using that learning to help us teach. The ten key moves are really geared to building independent learners.

A must read!

Read more by  Zaretta Hammond


Be Careful What You Say


Peter Johnston has written an amazing book which Debbie Miller shared with our team. In Choice Words he talks about how easy it is to make or break a child with our words.

In Debbie Miller’s Book Teaching With Intention 

download (1)

I compiled some of the ideas Debbie mentioned in her book.

Debbie Miller Teacher Talk


A Fish In Foreign Waters

by Laura Caputo-Wickham

I love this book.

Having grown up bilingually in another country and raised my children to be bilingual, I really could relate to it.

Now however,  I think about all the children in our classrooms who come to us speaking multiple languages and I think they too could relate to this book.

As the author states: “You cannot waste precious time looking for the right words, so you pick the first words that come to your head regardless of language.Or the “secret language” that you share with your parent, often used to gossip about people standing next to you assuming they don’t understand (and sometimes your assumption is wrong!).Other common aspects are less amusing, though – like the feeling of awkwardness for being different, especially as a child.”




Descriptive Writing

Brian Wildsmith has a wonderfully descriptive passage about squirrels in his book Squirrels. I used to love using it as a mentor text springboard with children. Unfortunately the book is out of print. Link to a video reading of Squirrels which you can use if you cannot find the book. If you have suggestions for newer books with excellent descriptive passages please share them with me!

I like the passage because the author starts with “It is easy to recognize a squirrel…” which students can use to start their own paragraph about an animal of their choice.

I usually read the story and we discuss it and I list what the author did that we liked.

I then share my own descriptive writing starting with the same introduction about an animal they might not be aware of.

After I have read my model,we look at the list of attributes to see if I followed the structure of this experienced author. Next we  write a group piece but at this point some children are ready to write on their own. Once all students have written their paragraph we create a class book entitled-It Is Easy to Recognize a...

Teach Kids not Levels

I was so happy when a good friend and colleague showed me what she had been working on at her school. This poster is displayed in the library and classrooms.  Teachers are trying to teach students to look for qualities in books vs choosing a book by its level. This is so important so that we can enable children to look for real books in the real world.(un-leveled) They are also better able to choose just right books they are interested in. Thank you LB for sharing your thinking!IMG_2083.JPG

Even Fountas and Pinell who created the widely used assessment state: “We did not intend for levels to become a label for children that would take us back to the days of the bluebirds and the blackbirds or the jets and the piper cubs. Our intention was to put the tool in the hands of educators who understood their characteristics and used it to select appropriate books for differentiated instruction.”  Read the article here

Interested in more about  this topic?  Read this book! Beyond Leveled Books by Karen Szymusiak, Franki Sibberson, and Lisa Koch



Teaching with Graphic Novels

Love this display in our Curriculum Materials CenterIMG_2656.JPG

Teacher Mindset

Kare O (2)I think what hit me most about this poster as I entered a classroom, was the mindset of the teacher. I have worked with her a lot because she invites me to her classroom. Her belief in, and love of children is so obvious in everything she does. Sometimes as educators we forget that! She truly is about the kids. Thank you KO for inspiring me everytime I visit you!

book This book by Mary Cay Ricci, has had me thinking a lot lately. Are we truly about the kids? Do we actually do our best to help all children learn and grow? Do we learn new things in order to achieve that success for each child? I am working very hard to ensure I have a growth mindset and not a fixed one…

AS Anne Davies asks- do you want to TEACH for 25 years, or do you want to teach the same thing 25 times??



Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites by Marcia L. Tate

In this age of technology, we are seeing more worksheets in classrooms than ever before. It’s so quick and easy to run off a set for the classroom and yet ,we know that the person making the worksheet does the most thinking. Why then are children spending countless hours merely filling in the blanks? Marcia L. Tate provides the reader with many alternatives to those time filling, brain stopping work sheets. Consider some of her ideas in the Wordle below:


If you haven’t read her book, I highly recommend reading it whether it is for your own classroom or to support teachers.


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