2020 Calendar

Make positive shift happen in 2020 with a free printable CD Case Calendar! Keep handy information about the building blocks of positive shift at your fingertips. Here’s how to make a stand from a CD case.

Posted in productivity

The 10 Week Productivity Challenge

desktop10weekchallengeWhen we increase our productivity, we get more of the important stuff done. Productivity is also one of the top skills that employers want. Get started today with the 10 Week Productivity Challenge to learn how to manage your tasks and make the most of your time! Sign up here to receive an email course with the top ten tips to increase productivity. This free course guides you through how to:

  1. Look at time use with an audit
  2. Choose (or review) a system
  3. Follow a routine
  4. Plan
  5. Have a direction
  6. Increase focus
  7. Take action
  8. Review
  9. Simplify
  10. Pay attention

Productivity is about making the most of the time we have. There’s no better time to begin than now!

Posted in productivity

A Mindful Moment

In the moment that we notice, lies the potential for change.

Mindfulness is about noticing, paying attention, and being aware.

Mindfulness can mean observing the world around us. When we are mindful, we notice a beautiful sunset, inhale the smell of a flower, listen to moving music, feel a cool breeze, and savor the taste of food. We use all of our senses to notice what is going on. We look into the eyes of the people we love, and listen closely to what they are saying.

Mindfulness can also be about an inner focus: noticing our own thoughts and emotions, and whether we are paying attention to the negative or the positive, the important or the unimportant. When we are tuned into what is going on within us, we might notice that our energy levels are low and see that it is time to re-charge. We might become aware that we are spending too much time on work or social media, and neglecting the people right in front of us.

In our busy world with countless distractions, too often we become so absorbed by the virtual world that we forget to look up and notice. We are happier when we connect with others, so plan a face-to-face meeting with a friend, or get together with family, and focus on them. Pleasure is added when we anticipate a fun activity, or recall a fun time in the past.

There are meditations designed to increase mindfulness, like this walk along the beach video (24:41) from Jason Stephenson. But there is a difference between the two terms even though sometimes they are used synonymously. While very helpful for meditation and deep breathing (and all the building blocks of positive shift), mindfulness is really about being aware of the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote that mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

A Mindfulness Exercise

Listen to a CD of the sounds of ocean waves, while imagining all the sensations of standing on an ocean beach, surrounded by blue sky, green palm trees, and the sweet scent of colorful flowers. Imagine feeling the warmth of the sun, a gentle breeze, and the sand beneath your feet. As you touch on all the senses, feel your connection with the world. Inhale deeply and stretch up, while imagining you are filling up with hope, peace, serenity, and calm. As you slowly exhale, reach toward your toes while you let go of all tensions and worries.

Tools to become more mindful:

Learn more at the Positive Shift Happens Toolkit

Posted in Ideas That Work

The Building Blocks of Positive Shift: BE MEASURING


The building blocks of positive shift are not complicated. You likley have heard of some of them before. Many of them are simple, and most of them are not hard to do. Why, then, do we often fail to practice them? They require an investment of time, and we may be so busy and distracted that we forget the convincing research on the Benefits of Happiness Habits in Infographics. I’m positive you will gain many benefits if you practice the activities have been shown to increase well-being by studies in the field of Positive Psychology. Learn more with resources at The Positive Shift Happens Toolkit

BEMEASURING Building Blocks pdf

Breathe: breathe deeply

Exercise: regular physical exercise

Meditate: practice focused attention, returning wandering thoughts back to the focus point

Emotionally Aware: understand your own emotions and empathize with others

Aspire: take action toward meaningful goals

Share & Spirituality: volunteer or contribute to a cause you believe in, perform random acts of kindness, connect with a higher power or philosophical and religious beliefs

Uplift: yourself with positive music and thoughts, and others with kind words

Relate: spend time interacting with people

In Flow: use the talents that cause you to lose track of time

Notice: look up, be aware and mindful, pay attention, smell the roses. Plan and anticipate activities, remember good times.

Gratitude: begin the day with appreciation, and end it by thinking of a few things you are grateful for. Thank those you are grateful for.

While the first letters of these activities happen to spell BE MEASURING, it is not usually important to measure them! What is important, is to make them a regular part of your life.

Posted in Ideas That Work, personal development

Reading Lesson Plan

This plan to follow for tutoring students learning to read was Inspired by Phonics Intervention from Sarah’s First Grade Snippets. The amount of time spent on different activities varies depending on the needs of the student. The assessments at the end of this post help know where to start. These activities can begin once letter names and sounds have been learned. Download a printable pdf of ideas for tutoring sessions here.


Review vowel sounds: Beginners-short or long vowel chart, More Advanced-the Vowel Patterns grocery store chart

Review phonograms with Quizlet flashcards

Phonemic Awareness (using voice only)

  • Segmenting: tutor says word, student takes apart syllables or separate sounds in a word
  • Blending: tutor says separate syllables or sounds in a word, student puts them together to say the word.
  •  Phonemic Awareness Symbaloo & Symbaloo of Literactive Games (on PC)


Review skills from last lesson


Introduce a new skill, following sequence as the student is ready.

Word families for the pattern: little bunny sliders. Printable pdf of word families with phonics patterns.

DECODE (read)

Word Sorts

Look for patterns

Automaticity: Read sentences with the target skill at stickyball.net

ENCODE (put letter sounds into writing)

Build words (with magnetic whiteboard and letters, or online magnetic letters from goteachthis.com)

  • Tutor says a word, “how many sounds do you hear? What is the first sound? Etc.” Student uses letter tiles to build it, then writes it.

Manipulate words

Pattern matching

  • Write words with the patterns in columns under the correct pattern – Bookmark freebie


Reading passage from Progressive Phonics. See also Decodable books from Harcourt: k6 thinkcentral.com-K | 1Emergent & Transitional Readers w/audio from shala-books.

Review sight words with Quizlet flashcards and free bookmarks from Super Tutor Tools 

Encode sight words with Sight Words Audible from Mr. Nussbaum


Literacy Resources (heggerty.org) has assessments for:

  • letter names and sounds skills
  • phonemic awareness skills

National Right to Read Foundation (nrrf.org) Reading Competency Test Reading Competency TestPart 1 – Phonics Patterns, Part 2 – Reading Level

Symbaloo of Literacy Tools, including APPS: Quizlet, allaboutlearningpress, & kids vs phonics.

To learn about phonics basics and for quick access to resources and games at the Daily Planit, check out the Phonics FUNdamentals tutorial, and download the free ebook: “Phonics FUNdamentals plus online games to practice reading skills.” Explore the Phonics Toolkit here at the Daily Planit and my resources available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Posted in phonics

Bossy R Variations

Vowels can vary in the sounds they make. Here are some of the ways that Bossy R words can vary. First let’s look at what happens when words have both a Silent e and a Bossy R.

Silent e vs Bossy R


If you find a wire in your spare tire you will see that Silent e wins with -are & -ire. When we explore nature, it is Bossy R that wins with -ore & -ure.  A Silent e vs Bossy R words worksheet is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Super Tutor Tools store.

The Bossy R Schwa


Some words say “er” with different Bossy R spellings. “The pearl is worth a dollar.” In this phrase, all of these spellings make the “er” schwa sound.

The -ear phonogram is quite tricky. You will learn (er) not to fear (long e/r) the bear (“air”) with a big heart (ar). WATCH: ear video from stickyball.net.


The -air sound (or phoneme) can be made with several spellings. Besides the ear in bear, AR can say arrow and ER can say error. Be warned that AR can also say OR when it is warm. IR can say a long e in words like spirit & mirror.


Multiple Meaning Words


When working with Bossy R variations, you may notice that many of these words can be homophones. They sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. “I have a pair of pears.”

You may also see homonyms or homographs, words that are spelled and sound the same but have different meanings. “I will park the car at the park.” In the phrase “There is a tear in my eye as I tear up the paper” the word tear is a hetronym. Hetronyms are a type of homograph that have the same spelling, but a different sound and meaning.

READ “A Bat Cannot Bat, a Stair cannot Stare” by Brian P Cleary, “Dear Deer” by Gene Barretta, “Eight Ate” and “The Dove Dove” by Marvin Terban.

PLAY Categorical Dominoes from Brian P Cleary to practice homophones.

Practice Schwa Bossy R with worksheets that can also be used as word sorts available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. A free copy of the Multiple Meaning Chart can be found there as well. PLAY a homophone Search-a-word puzzle.

Learn more at Bossy R is Very Controlling from ogforall.com

Posted in phonics

More Ways That Vowels Can Be Long

Vowels can be long with the Silent e pattern, Vowel Teams, Open Syllables, and Tricky Y. Two more important long vowel patterns to learn are: i and o can be long when followed by two consonants, and open syllables in two syllable words with one middle consonant. These can be challenging, because in both cases, words may have either the long or short sound.

i and o can be long when followed by two consonants

If you have lŏst a gĭft you know that this is not always so. A strategy for reading is to try it with a long vowel sound to see if it is a recognizable word. If it is not, try it with the short vowel sound.

Strategy: To fīnd lŏng, pĭck bōth

These words can be practiced with a Long or Short i or o Soccer Game. Teams are chosen for either the long vowel sound or the short vowel sound and take turns drawing words to match the pattern.

The words can be printed on “soccer balls” and cut out with a 1 inch circle punch to add to the fun.

The Long or Short i or o Soccer Game is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Open and Closed Syllables in Two Syllable Words with one middle consonant


The first syllable in two syllable words with one middle consonant can be either long or short, so it is important to understand and practice these words too. Since more are long (60%) than short (40%), try the long vowel sound first to see if it is a recognizable word. If it is not, try it with the short vowel sound.

Strategy: Bē/gin with long, vĭ/sit short

The Tiger & Camel Words Soccer Game is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.


Posted in phonics

Letters With More Than One Sound: the Vowels

We have met OO/OO, one of the diphthongs. Which might be a foot that is short, or a boot that is too long. More vowels that can vary are OW, EA, IE. The letter Y can be Tricky indeed with the sounds it can make, more than three! (it can say a short i like in gym.)


Y at the end of a one syllable word, often says a long “I” as in fly. Practice Tricky Y with a story and word sort at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

PLAY ONLINE Y ending games at eslphonicsworld.com,  at Galactic Phonics Y as long i and Y as long e and more vowel variations.


R controlled vowels may be trickiest of all…but I forgot to mention that A can say short O like in watch or in ball. The Sounds of A Worksheet/Word Sort is available at TeachersPayTeachers.


AR can sound like ER, as in pillar or dollar. So can OR, when you start your motor. When there is an E before AR all bets are off. It might be ER when you learn, or maybe a long e that you hear. It can even be a polar bear on a chair. Learn more about the Bossy R Schwa sound and other variations.

Last, but not least of all, is the amazing schwa. Any vowel can make this lazy “uh” sound, so watch out for schwas all around!


These guidelines may help you to figure out the many sounds you will discover all about.

Teach reading skills using hands-on, fun activities: memorable introductions to patterns with fun rhymes, 16 games,  24 worksheets, 11 word sorts and more. Learn more about the Phonics Toolkit available at Teachers Pay Teachers and get your copy today!

Posted in phonics

Blends and Blending


All things phonics are moving to a new website: www.phonicspow.com…please join us there! The post that was formerly here can be found at Blends.

Posted in phonics

The 44 Sounds of English


All things phonics are moving to a new website at www.phonicspow.com…please join us there! The post that was formerly here is now at The 44 Sounds of English.




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