Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Secret Stories® Classroom Kits vs. the Supplemental "Digital" Resources on TpT


Hi there!
I wanted to let everyone who's subscribed to the NEW Secret Stories® Newsletter & Freebies to be sure to check your inbox for the 2 FREE DOWNLOAD WINDOWS posted, which will run through the duration of Teachers Pay Teachers 28% OFF sale, ending at midnight, tonight!  
For those who are not signed up to receive the Secret Stories® Newsletter & Freebies, just go to www.TheSecretStories.com and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the subscriber box, or if you're reading this on my blog, you will see the subscription box in the right side column (It will look like the picture, below). After signing up, you should receive the newsletter within just a couple of minutes! 

Given the big TpT Sale, now seemed like the perfect time to post this commonly asked question about how the Secret Stories® Classroom Kits are different from the digital Secret Stories® products listed for sale on TpT, as many of you have probably wondered this, as well....

Dear Katie,
I am totally in L-O-V-E with my recently purchased kit of "The Secret Stories!" My K-5 intervention reading groups are absolutely reaping amazing rewards with this resource! I really wish that I had had it years ago. Okay, enough gushing... Here's my question:
Since I do have the classroom kit, which TpT resources would you recommend to supplement it? I am about to purchase the Guided Reader books available here, as well as "Sneaky Y's Secret!" Are there any others supplements that I might like to consider? 
Ideally, I'd love to see all supplements listed in one place—here or on your website/blog—so that I don't replicate parts of the full kit, but can purchase all of the additions to it. 
Thanks so much for any advice you can offer! :-)

So just in case you've been wondering the same thing, here's the scoop—
First and foremost, it's important to know that everything needed to successfully implement the Secret Stories® IS included in the classroom kits— the book, all of the posters and the musical practice CD, and that the complete classroom kits are only sold in hardcopy format on the Secret Stories® website. And if you're wondering what the difference between the three different kits— OriginalFun & Funky and Space Savers— it's simply the look and size of the posters. There are also some hardcopy supplements that teachers who use and love the Secret Stories® often get, which are the Dual-Use Placards (for hands-on manipulative use anywhere in the classroom) and the Porta-Pics (for portable use both at home as well as in the classroom). The only other important point here that I would like to make is that if you are a primary grade teacher (preK-2), go for the larger posters (as opposed to the space-savers) as your kids will be using referencing them constantly, and from everywhere in the classroom! For this reason, easy visual access is a must!
So now let's talk about the Secret Stories® on TpT...
All of the Secret Stories® digital products on TpT are supplemental resources that serve one or more of three purposes:
1. Flexibility of size options of the core Secret Stories® graphics for multi-purpose use and reproducibility, via the digital format.  Whether you already have the classroom kit and want the added flexibility of owning these core pieces in a digital format, or if you've never tried the Secrets, but would like to test out some bits and pieces in your classroom— the following TPT products are ideal: 
And....
FYI—The "Headband Packs listed in #3 also offer the smaller size options and are ideal for home-sharing, although they are not listed in this section, as their primary purpose is to provide practice both decoding and encoding by turning the kids into manipulatives! Similarly, the Mini-Mats (in #2) and Sneaky Y's® Secret w/ Reading Puppet (#3) are also ideal for reproducible "home-sharing!")
2. A "ready-to-use" and "sound-accurate" alternative to a traditional classroom alphabet anchors. All too often when I visit classrooms, I see alphabet trains (or whatever you want to call the above-board alphabet display) that contain picture sound cues that are either completely inaccurate or that identify the least most-likely sound option (i.e. an orange or an oyster for the letter o, a xylophone for the letter x, etc...) The following products were created to solve this problem, as well as a couple of others!
Each set has the Secrets for the individual letter sound secrets (i.e. Superhero & Short & Lazy Vowel sounds, Sneaky Y® and QU) already embedded, along with accurate picture prompts for each sound a letter can make by itself (i.e. hard and soft G and C, 3 sounds of Y, etc...)  They also make for ideal references when singing the the Secret Stories® Better Alphabet Song— which teachers kids ALL of the possible sounds that the letters can make by themselves AND in the most likely order! And the vertical-display option is a life-saver when trying to keep up with thefast-paced Letter Runs while pointing to each letter as you sing its sound/sounds! (And the mini-mats are also ideal for home practice and use!)
3. Provide for authentic, targeted practice of the Secret Stories® phonics patterns and sounds. In addition to enhancing learners' visual acuity to more quickly recognize the Secret Stores® patterns in text, the following products help learners to both see and understand how the Secrets can be applied to text to help them read and/or write words. These TpT products include: 
And the Secret Stories® Guided Readers— 
Additionally, all of the Common Core Poster Sets also contain Secret Stories® graphic references, where applicable, and the Science Sets are FREE, so be sure to check those out, as well! 

I hope this helps to clarify the differences between the actual Secret Stories® Classroom Kits and the digital supplements that are offered on TpT! And now for some freebies!!!
And don't forget while doing your last-minute shopping tonight on TpT to download the free goodies that I've put in the "Free Download Window," as they'll be gone one the sale ends! You will see the links for them in your newsletter (see top of post if you missed this!)
Until Next Time,
Katie Garner :-)

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