Saturday, November 7, 2015

Seasonal Guided Reading Passages for Your Earliest Readers

My earliest readers are beginning to make gains toward being ready to read Level A passages! We've been working hard at learning those letter names and sounds and then putting those sounds into words. While working on those things in isolation, I've also been focusing on reading very simple sentences that include simple sight words and one other word that connects directly to a picture. I've been using my Guided Reading Passages for Level Pre-A - a new seasonal edition! My little readers have been doing so well and I'm so proud of their progress. They are able to point and read ONLY the words on the page- instead of making up really long sentences to match the picture. :)  

My little readers love reading the stories and then drawing and labeling pictures to show their understanding. I just LOVE little kid writing and pictures so much- they always turn out adorable!

Of course, their next favorite part is when we pull out the highlighters! I also enjoy this step because it is a simple way to reinforce their knowledge of the sight word we are focusing on in each text. This quick little step can really help your little readers actually learn and remember those sight words!

The running record is a great way to check in on students to see if they are ready to move on or need a little more practice at the current level. It is such a handy resource for me to quickly pull out and use as an assessment!

Having a lesson plan all ready to go for each story also makes planning super easy...I've got everything all printed and ready to go for each lesson!

Click the image below or here to check out the pack- on sale for 50% off though the weekend {Nov 7 &8}!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

{Free} Ten Frames App

I am always looking for new ways to teach ten frames.  I see my students who understand ten frames, have a stronger sense of numbers and understand number relationships.  When teaching ten frames this year I came across a great free app-10 Frame Fill.

10 Frame Fill is a great app that allows you to easily differentiate for student learning.

My students are still working on counting and understanding numbers up to 10 are simply moving the yellow counters to fill the ten frame, answering the question each time "how many more to make 10?"

My higher students are able to see a ten frame as a "missing addend" problem. This helps transition students into subtraction problems and helps them to better understand number relationships.  

There are many options to choose from in order to help best meet the needs of all of the students in your classroom.  I appreciate that I can expose higher students to a variety of subtraction and missing addend problems to help them to see a ten frame with an equation.  

The best part about this is app is that it is FREE and still has lots of options to choose from.  Hope you can use this app in your classroom to help students better understand relationships of 10!

Happy Saturday!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween Mini Book Freebie!

I wanted to share a cute Halloween mini-book with you all! It is perfect for your emergent readers. The text has just a few repeated, simple sight words and predictive text to match the pictures on each page. It is perfect to add into your guided reading books for this week or next. You can even have your readers repeatedly read it after you've done it together. Halloween is always a super exciting topic of discussion, so they'll be excited to read this one over and over again. :)

All you have to do is print, copy and assemble! 

 After reading through the story, my little readers went back and highlighted the word "am" throughout the story. Of course, highlighters are always fun for my readers! Plus, it gets them to focus on a specific word within the text.

 I love the way their responses on the last page turned out! They all LOVED getting the chance to share about their own costumes.

You can download this freebie here! I hope your little readers enjoy the fun Halloween themed story!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guided Reading: Fall Themed!

Guided reading is such an important part of the day for most elementary students. This being the case, I find that it's critical to keep it exciting for those little readers. You want them to keep on improving in regard to reading level, comprehension and motivation! This year I've done this through the addition of seasonal passages. So many of my readers have been making connections with things they've done this fall season that match right up to our stories. This makes guided reading that much more meaningful for them!

I write the passages to align with F&P leveling system- it is quite the lengthy process, but I'm always so happy to see my readers progress through the levels! In these packs, I also include a lesson plan that I use for each passage. I include a running record for each passage as a way to assess my student's abilities on a regular basis. I'll be back on soon talking all about why I love running records- so be sure to check back!

Check out each pack by clicking each image below!

If you are interested in seasonal passages for the year by level, check out my growing bundles- grab them for a great deal now! {Click the images below}

If you have all sorts of levels in your room, like I do, check out the mega growing bundle for all levels A-M for the entire year! {Click the image below}

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Establishing a Community of Readers

Both when I was a classroom teacher and in all my years as a reading specialist, I have students who lack confidence in themselves as readers. So, one of my goals has always been to make students gain confidence as readers. The main reason for this is because I do not want them to think learning to read is too hard and just give up. I not only want to help them become readers, but I also want them to learn to love reading and to feel confident as readers.  Check out some of the things I do in my room that you can also (hopefully easily) implement as well to help your little readers grow! :)

 Letting your students know and realize that they are readers and can read is so important. I don't let my readers get away with saying "I can't read" because it just isn't true! I love our "we are readers" sign with each reader's signature on there, it really creates a community of readers in our room! Each reader also made their own "loves to read about" banner to hang up by our sign. We talked as a group about the different things each reader enjoys! You can check this activity out here.

There are so many amazing books out there that encourage readers of all ages! I highly recommend any and all of these books to be read at the beginning of the year.

As teachers we all know how meaningful it is to be super enthusiastic. It really gets everyone more excited about whatever it is you are about to do together. By simply talking about reading throughout each day, you will notice a difference in how excited your readers get about reading each day!

Being a reading specialist, my theme each year is simple: READING! I think it is a great idea to encourage readers all day through things hanging on your wall. If it's important to you, it will be important to them too! You can grab the reading posters (on the upper right) for free here. You can also grab the poster (another freebie) from the bottom left from the super sweet Mrs B's First Grade.

This is something so simple to do once you get in a routine with it...but all it is: call your students your readers! This again makes a world of a difference in helping them realize that they are READERS!

 Another way to get your readers excited about and interesting in reading is through reading profiles/student interest surveys.  These are great to do at the beginning of the year. I recommend meeting with small groups or individually with each reader to talk about their favorite topics, characters, etc. It will tell you lots about your little readers. I absolutely loved used these reading profiles this year- you can grab this amazing Reading Profile freebie from Stomping Through First!

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Classroom Management-Adding a Little Something Extra

Stickers, stickers and more stickers! Stickers at the beginning of the day, stickers throughout the day and stickers at the end of the day.

Last year we began using stickers as an extra way to motivate our first graders.  Let me tell you they love getting their little stickers.  At the beginning of the year we gave stickers for the littlest things and then, once students bought in and love getting stickers, we are making them work a little bit harder for each sticker.

Every Thursday we do a sticker trade in.  The things students can turn their stickers in for are actually not "things" which is wonderful! No more buying little junkie toys from the Dollar Tree students get to trade in their stickers for all kinds of great things (see below!!!) 

There you have it...easy, simple and it is a great thing that I do on-top of Class Dojo this year.  When a student is "caught being good" he/she might get a Class Dojo point, he/she might get a sticker and sometimes he/she is just told it is important to do the right thing with or without positive reinforcement because that is what we do as good citizens.  Either way, if you have every worked with first graders you know it is great to have multiple forms of positive reinforcement in the classroom.

To keep track of their stickers we are using blank ten frames.  Grab this freebie below.  The best part about putting their stickers into ten frames is with each sticker trade in day students are left counting on ten frames.  Students learn very quickly that instead of counting by 1s, it is much faster and easier to count by 10s instead!  It is great practice and they don't even realize that they are doing math.

There are 2 versions of this freebie feel free to use whichever better suits your classroom needs.  The first one has room for 100 stickers and we duplex them so students can get a total of 200 stickers on their paper.  The second version is one I used for an individual behavior plan-where the student worked to get 10 stickers and then could choose from a list of rewards.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Guided Math Part 3: Using Assessment to Group Students for Guided Math

Assessment is a crucial piece to my guided math instruction.  It is through using the right assessments that I am able to make better use of my time and my student's time during guided math, teaching kids the concepts that they do not already know or challenge them to dig deeper on concepts they know on a surface level.

Children come into our classrooms at different levels and with different strengths and different struggles.  It is our job throughout the school year to help students capitalize on their strengths and help minimize the gaps on the concepts they are struggling with.

As I begin teaching a new standard I give students a quick pre-assessment to see what knowledge students came into my classroom with.  Pre-assessments can be anything that will be meaningful and help to drive your instruction.  When I first began using assessments in my classroom, I was pulling from a variety of resources which caused a lack of consistency.  I also did not enjoy all of the time I was spending to find the "perfect" assessment.  As a result, I created a pack with each Common Core Standard for First Grade.

All students in my classroom are given a pre-assessment, like the one below, before I start teaching a new standard.  The pre-assessment is an assortment of questions that gives me a better idea of the knowledge students already have when coming into my classroom.  Before giving the pre-assessment we discuss  the "I can" statement and read it together.

After all students have taken the pre-assessment, I grade it and group students for my guided math groups.  I typically break my students into four groups: High, Medium-High, Medium-Low and Low.  There are times where I will have more students in one group and less in another but most times I find my groups end up being fairly equal. 

In order to quickly group students, I give each child a star on their pre-assessment in blue, yellow, brown or green.  These are the colors I use for my guided groups.    

I always make my pre-assessment out of 10 points to make grading easier.  I give students a number correct at the top out of 10 and a colored star.  It completely depends on the standard if I group students by the number correct on the top or if I look at the specific questions and group students based on the specific questions missed.

Now that my students are grouped, based on their strengths and struggles I am ready to teach!  How often you meet with each group will depend on the amount of time you are able to dedicate to guided math.  **Please click here to read about Getting Started with Guided Math for a blog post to help you figure out your timing.**

Every year is slightly different for me depending on scheduling and the needs of the kids but typically I have 15 guided math time slots. Which means I have a little over an hour for math each day.  I do about a 10-15 minute whole group mini lesson.  Then, students break into center groups.  Students go to 3 centers a day (meaning I have 3 guided math groups a day.)  3 Guided Math Groups a Day X 5 Days in a Week = 15 Guided Math Slots.

I meet with my lowest group every day, which gives them 5 times guided math slots.  My medium-low group I meet with 4 times a week.   My medium-high group I meet with about 3 times a week and my highest group I meet with 2 times a week.  That leaves me 1 open slot to pull any students that need extra help for that final slot.

What to teach during guided math is definitely another post on its own (stay tuned,) I will blog about it soon! But continuing with grouping...once my groups are set, in order to better organize myself, I use this easy template below.
On the template, I write the standard and I can statement this way I have easy reference to it when teaching my students.  It is important for my students to know what and why they are learning the standard.  I write student names for each group.  I also write the group's focus.  I use the pre-assessment to come up with my focus for that particular group-noting any challenges they had or strengths so that I know exactly what I want to teach each group.  The final thing I write is the materials needed so that before math I can quickly look to see who I am meeting with and what materials I need to grab.  

**To grab a blank copy of this template click here.** 

The post-assessment is the fun part!  No, really it is...because you get to see the growth your student's made over the duration of your teaching.  The post-assessment that I use looks very similar to the pre-assessment.  I typically print the pre and post assessment for each standard back-to-back so that I can easily see the growth that occurred. Below is an example of the post assessment from the same standard as above.

Although the numbers changed from pre to post-assessment the type of questions stayed the same so growth can easily be measured. 

Data is something I struggled with.  It is one thing to keep data on one child within your classroom but to keep track of data for twenty-something students is more challenging.  I knew I needed a quick and easy system to keep track of student progress throughout the school year.  

At the beginning of the year, I create a checklist for each student.  After a standard is covered (and post-assessment has been given) I mark each child's checklist.  

"Mastered:" Student fully understand the concept.
"In Progress:"  Student understands the concepts but I am not sure it will carry over when presented in a variety of way and over the school year.
"Not Mastered:" Student is still struggling with the concept.

This checklist below is another favorite from the pack because it helps me keep track of the standards I have and have not yet covered.  I can also look to see what skills students might need to review because we haven't gone over it in a while.

Assessment is a crucial part of teaching.  It helps educators individualize education by teaching students exactly what they are struggling with and/or challenging them in areas they have already mastered.  There are many different kinds and forms of assessment that can be used in the classroom.

All of the printables shown in the pictures above are a part of my Common Core Assessment Pack for First Grade that I use with my first graders to help me assess each of the Common Core Standards as well as helps me keep track of student data with checklists and charts.

In this pack you will find pre and post assessments for each standard, checklists to track student growth and kid-friendly objective posters for each standard.  It is a pack designed to make assessment easy and quick for both teachers and students.  This pack also allows for easy sharing of data amongst teams, parents, and administration.  Even my students like seeing their progress from pre to post assessment!  Click here or on the picture below to see this Common Core Assessment Pack.

Guided math has helped my students grow tremendously as it allows me to better meet each of my student's needs.  Assessment plays a critical role in guided math as it allows you to group students and again best meet individual needs.

Other Guided Math Posts and Freebies:

Happy Thursday!

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