Monday, July 7, 2014

Chapter 4: Early Guided Reading


Chapter 4 is all about early reading for your higher level kinder kids and your first grade students. This week the host of this chapter is sweet Jill from ABC's and Polka Dots! She has a great document to add to your documentation binder for your small groups.

Here are my thoughts on this chapter:

1. What part of the reading caught your attention?
There is a list of skills children progress through in the early reading levels. 
I thought the list would be great to add to our open house presentation for parents. Parents aren't really aware of all the skills that we want students to gain mastery in. 

2. How do you already incorporate this into your guided reading routine?

A few years ago brain feelers were introduced in a blog post from Miss Knights Chronicles. I don't bring them out every week but when I do my groups are highly engaged and love picking their questions. 


One bit that really stood out for me was this quote:
 It is extremely important that children listen to themselves as they read and stop if what they say does not make sense. Self-monitoring is the foundation for comprehension. When you say, "Does that make sense?" do a child, you are teaching comprehension.

If you are new to guided reading this chapter has a great plan for your daily small group instruction.





Monday, June 23, 2014

Chapter 2: Assessment

We're on to chapter 2: Assessments in our book study!


I know what you're thinking! Ugh- I hate assessments. Ok, they aren't at the top of my list either, but they're essential to making sure our students are on track and continue making progress regardless of their level.

Again this chapter is full of primary assessments and the information you can gain from them making this book a fantastic tool. If you're switching grade levels up or down this chapter is an excellent tool for you! 

1. What part of the reading caught your attention? 

I liked the chart with average number of words correct per minute broken down by grade level. That's a great tool for me as well as for the parents I have that want to know more. This quote in particular stood out to me, "Speed and accuracy should not be the sole measures of fluency. You need to consider the student's expression, intonation, and attention to punctuation." Jan Richardson also sites this 4 point fluency scale.
Click the picture above to go to the NAEP web site
I also want to mention, as a first grade teacher, that the comprehension component of reading is so very important. We have many students come to us from kindergarten and their parents are so proud that they are reading a book that is so wordy. But we have to explain to them that being a strong reader means more than just reading the words. Oral retell is huge in first grade and it's something we work on with our partners as well as in small groups!

2.  How do you already incorporate this into your guided reading routine?

This year I started making a poetry center. (A Poem a Week- I have poems for most of the months. Working on July -October. Available in my TPT store) We added our poems to a journal. Students worked with me in small group searching for sight words in the poem and answering comprehension questions, and completed missing parts of the poem. As the year went on students started getting more confident and began practicing reading their poems. Some students even memorized them and proudly read them aloud to me and their classmates. I also read and re-read my favorite stories several times over the year and leave them out for the children to try and read as well. Great stories for expression include You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown and Alice the Fairy by David Shannon. They're both simple, hilarious, and offer great opportunities for the students to mimic how I have read the stories with expression.

3. How do you want to make your guided reading time better? Is there something new you want to try?

This year I want to incorporate the use of rubrics for assessment on a more consistent basis.

4. What are some resources you already have that you can use to teach about what you read in this chapter?

I have some reading comprehension bookmarks for your students. I use them as a tool for my student first is small groups so that my kiddos see me model how to use them. Then as they become stronger readers they can use these bookmarks on their own and in partners. The more students use them the more they train their brain to retell and ask questions as they read these story. Just click on the link to grab your copy!


Be sure to check out the posts from other bloggers in our blog study! 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Using 3M Velcro to Set Up Your Classroom

I'm linking up with other bloggers sharing their bright ideas! This year I had a stinkin' genius idea that will help teacher in all grade levels with setting up their classroom!


Do you have to take EVERYTHING off of your walls at then end of every school year? I do. It's so frustrating to me. All that time spent placing each item exactly where I want it to go. Then I have to take it down and start from scratch the next year. 

Previous methods:
1) Blue sticky is great for temporary items. But I work in Texas and it gets really hot here. Our school district turns off the AC over the weekends to save energy and it's always disappointing to come into your room and find half of your posters on the floor because the blue sticky got too hot.

2) 3M sticky tabs. These are great because they don't fall off of the wall! BUT you have to buy all new tabs every summer to stick everything back onto the wall when it comes time to set up your classroom again. It can be very expensive.

MOMENT OF GENIUS!

This year as I was standing in Office Max filling my basket with 3M sticky tabs I thought, "Why not use velcro?" 
I went out to Hobby Lobby and bought foam board and glued my posters and papers to the foam board using E6000 craft glue. *My teammate tried this but hot glued her items and some of them fell off of her foam board by the end of the year.* Any posters I would group together, for example my writing goals, were glued onto a foam board.


E6000 is great to use when you are gluing things onto your foam board. It doesn't dry immediately the way hot glue does so you have a couple of minutes to adjust and straighten everything. Once it's dry it's set and you won't have any problems! I even used it on my ribbon for the poster below.
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The 3M velcro tabs are the same on both side so they don't have a write or wrong side the way traditional velcro does. I used four velcro tabs on small posters and six tabs on larger posters. At the end of the school year I simply pulled all of my posters off of the wall and stacked them in my car. It took less than five minutes and I'll be able to put them right back up in August. We were allowed to leave the velcro tabs up on our wall. However, if I had to take them down it would have been easy enough to purchase more velcro to match to the back of my tabs on my posters and re-hang them. 

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I had all of my posters ready before we were allowed access to our rooms the week before school started. It was such a relief to know most of what I wanted up on my walls was complete it just one afternoon!

If you enjoyed this bright idea please consider following me on Instagram or Facebook!

For more bright ideas from more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!






Monday, June 16, 2014

Chapter 1: How to Prepare for Guided Reading

I'm linking up with some fabulous bloggers for a book study of The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson. Chapter 1 is hosted by our leader Jennifer from Teaching with Grace.



If you're a new teacher or you're moving down to a lower grade this is an excellent resource! Everything is spelled out for you and many ideas for each grade level are offered.

1. What part of the reading caught your attention? 

This chapter is full of work station management charts that can really help you if you're just starting out. Most of the charts have five groups of students. I've found in my own classroom that I have four or five groups depending on the makeup and needs of my class as well as the number of students.

2. How do you already incorporate this into your guided reading routine?

I also liked the little bit about encouraging independent reading. I read The Book Whisperer a couple of years ago and it's a MUST READ no matter what grade level you teach. I share the philosophy that students need the opportunity to explore and try to read books that are above their level or out of their comfort zone. My own classroom library isn't leveled. I have it sorted each month with books related to that month (ex: Thanksgiving books in November), nonfiction, by a specific author, etc. For students who aren't strong readers they love that they can explore the same books as their peers. Once they CAN read those books they are incredibly proud.


3. What is something new you want to try next school year? How do you want to make your guided reading time better or what new things do you want to try?

I haven't tried Book Talks. Well, I guess I've done a modified version. Our library was turned into a center for learning and innovation so we no longer have a librarian. We simply have a fifteen minute check out time so where I USED to be able to go in and read a book to my students and talk about an author now I'm just shuffling them in and out and lining them up. It's sad and frustrating. I did start checking out books by the same author or illustrator. I would read one to my students in the afternoon and lay out the other books along my chalkboard. Students would be able to read them all week until we went back the the "library" the next week. In my own teaching and use of mentor texts we talk quite a bit about what we like about the book- how the word rhyme, that it's funny, that it reminded you of something, that we like illustrations, etc.

4. What are some resources that you ALREADY HAVE that you can use to teach what you read about in this chapter/section?

Text to self is such a fun topic to teach. It's one that I try to introduce at the beginning of school while reading books from one of my favorite authors, Peter Brown. Peter Brown wrote You Will Be My Friend, which is fantastic for the first week of school. He also wrote Children Make Terrible Pets. It's hilarious. The main character is a bear who tries to make a little boy her pet. The kids think it's hilarious- and it is. It's perfect for making connections to pets they have or want to have. I did a cute little project that you can read about here. (Also good for following directions!)

5. What are some NEW resources that you want to get to try to use what you learned in this chapter?

My library is in desperate need of some new labels. I bought new bins from Really Good Stuff last year and I love them. The kids are able to easily flip through the books. However, the labels that come with them bins are NOT cute. There are some great labels here that I have added to my TPT wish list. 

Be sure to read up on what the other participating bloggers are sharing!



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