Sunday, October 5, 2014

Guided Reading Makes Me Happy! {Freebie, too!}

The other day I posted about balanced literacy and all the components. Today I'm back to share how I do one component of balanced literacy in my classroom... something near and dear to my heart (since it pretty much is my whole school day...)- guided reading!

At the beginning of the school year,  I posted about my organization for each group and so far after a few weeks in it has still been working out well and keeping me prepared for all my groups each week! I keep my lesson plans for the day, my texts and any follow up games/reading response pages within each section of the accordion file.


Another piece that keeps me very organized and ready for my groups is my guided reading buckets. These hold anything that doesn't fit in my accordion file. I have whisper phones which we use the first few minutes of our guided reading groups to warm up by practicing reading previously read stories to work on fluency, read with expression, etc. I don't know if you use whisper phones but man oh man do my kids LOVE them. I personally LOVE them because they actually get my friends to just start reading as soon as they sit down. Hoping the novelty doesn't ever wear off... :) I also use post it notes, highlighters and highlighting tape all to find evidence in the text to support answers to comprehension questions or find word patterns/sight words/vocabulary, etc. For my littlest friends, I use pointers to focus on the words we are reading, stickers to encourage super reading and segmenting boxes when we are writing or completing phonemic awareness activities. When writing about reading, we use post it note tape to fix any mistakes made. All of the stuff in our bucket just makes guided reading more engaging! You can also read about some other items I use with my littlest friends here.

With my emergent readers, I use little reading folders that include Level A or Level B passages. The passages include simple sentences with sight words and predictable text. These passages align with F&P's leveling system and have helped my little friends gain confidence and become stronger readers. I am so proud of the progress they have made! After reading through the text twice on their own, I also have two reading response questions that my friends answer with writing and drawing. After the reading response questions are done, each student goes back and highlights, circles and underlines three of our sight words that were a focus of the day for the story. I also complete a running record with my friends throughout the week to see if they are at an independent, instructional or frustrational level for the stories.
Level A:

I include all the stories for the week and the previous week in the folders so we use these folders as fluency folders and as our warm up with the whisper phones! My little friends love these passages and so do I!

Level B:


You can check out the Guided Reading Passages Level A pack here and the Level B pack here or by clicking the pics below!


Freebies!
A few other items that keep guided reading running smoothly in my room are my running record binder (the cute cover makes keeping track of students that much more exciting), my observations pages and my "super day" notes that I send home to parents. 


I have a tab for each student within my running record binder and a copy of the running records I'll be using for the week within the appropriate tabs. I then also have my observations pages in this binder as well and I either make notes after the completion of a running record or simply when they are reading through their guided reading stories.  I make notes on self correcting, errors they are making frequently, their fluency, reading with expression, etc. When a student does something spectacular during our reading groups, I make a really big deal of it and tell them how excited I am that he/she was such a super reader and then I give them a little note that I share with the group and then send home to the child's parents. I love the smiles I get from my friends (no matter the age!) when they get one of these little notes!  If you are looking for a running record binder cover, observations pages and notes for home, you can download these guided reading freebies here! I hope they help make guided reading a happy time in your classroom too! :)

Thanks to Hello Literacy for the fonts and Teaching Super Power for the graphics!

Have a great day!
Aylin

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tried-It Tuesday: Pencil Sharpener

I was was thrilled when I saw my little package from Classroom Friendly Supplies sitting on my doorstep one Friday after school.  I quickly opened the box and couldn't resist posting my excitement on Instagram!

As I read the feedback, I only got more excited to get this little guy into my classroom-so many people said this was their "favorite" pencil sharpener! One person replied saying she had "3 in her classroom!" For a teacher to purchase 3 of anything, you know it must be good!






1. Cute and Colorful


I am a first grade, elementary school teacher with polka dots borders and bright colors surrounding my classroom...so YES cute and colorful is something that makes me happy! Having this bright pencil sharpener is a great addition to my room.  I have gotten so many compliments on how cute this pencil sharpener is and I couldn't agree more! It has been a perfect for classroom and I love the bright blue color.  Here is my favorite little sharpener "mid-sharpen!"


Another fabulous thing about Classroom Friendly Supplies' Sharpeners is that they come in a wide variety of colors! I must say, if I didn't have the blue I probably would have gotten that hot pink-I do love that color too...hmmm maybe I should just get two for my classroom?!?!

2. Makes Pencils Sharp (and I mean SHARP!)



Oh my goodness, do you see that point?  I mean really...that is the definition of a sharp pencil!  Sometimes with my old sharpener it would create a "sharp point" but then the point would easily break....NOT with this sharpener!  My Classroom Friendly Supplies' Sharpener creates tough and sturdy points, which is perfect for my first grade beginning writers!

3. Created by a Classroom Teacher

This sharpener is created by a teacher for teachers.  When things are created by teachers, I have so much more confidence in buying them.  Even before purchasing, I felt confident that this sharpener had been through the ringer and been "kid-tested" and "kid-approved." I was right!  It is wonderful!

As stated above, the pencil sharpeners come in many colors and you have the option to buy in bulk to help save you money which is really nice.  Make sure to click on the picture below and check out the website!





I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried-It Tuesday!  This is my first time trying this pencil sharpener and I couldn't be more excited.  Head on over to Fourth Grade Flipper to see the other projects and things teachers are trying this week.


Happy Tuesday!
Amanda

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Balanced Literacy Components

There are so many parts to teaching literacy on a daily basis, it's amazing we are able to fit it all in one day! A Balanced Literacy Framework is one key way to ensure your students are being given plenty of opportunities to make progress as readers and writers throughout the year. I think most teachers have heard of Balanced Literacy, but since there are so many components to it and specifics about each part, I wanted to put together a little explanation reference page that covers what you as the teacher can be doing for each aspect. You may even notice that you are following a Balanced Literacy model without even realizing it!

Here are the components of a Balanced Literacy Framework: 

...and here is a breakdown of what each component looks like!


Of course this is going to look slightly different based on the grade level you teach, but overall, in any elementary classroom, these are the parts you want to include in your literacy block. I'll be back someday soon to break down each part even more in relation to how I implement them in my classroom. Hope this post helps clarify the components of Balanced Literacy for you...you can download these reference pages by clicking here or the pic below!


Have a great day!
Aylin

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation: How many stories will your class read this month?


Sometimes all it takes is a friendly little competition to spark some student motivation!  I mean, competition gets adults going so why not use this with students as well?!?  This year in first grade that is just what we are doing to help encourage our students to read (and be excited about stories) each and every day!

My team partner and I each have these posted in our classroom. With each story we read aloud in class, our star student,  makes a tally mark on the page below in our own separate classrooms.

We only had about a week in August but we were able to do a lot of read alouds these first few days of school-which I absolutely love! 

Then, at the end of the month we tally them up for our total and post it on our doors!  This is a display by Teacher Created Resources and can be found by clicking here



It is a fun easy way to encourage students to read.  Although we are the ones doing the reading right now-at some point the competition might change to have students do more of the reading.  Right now, I am loving how excited my first graders get to add another tally to our chart because we read a book!  As we are approaching the middle of September, my students are saying, "When can we read another book?" Simply because they want to beat our "August Score."  I can only imagine the math activities too we will be able to do with this information later in the school year!  

Grab your copy of the "Monthly Book Challenge"  by click here or the picture below.  

This is one way I am "Sparking Student Motivation" by putting a friendly competition behind our read alouds.  Thanks Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for hosting this wonderful linky!  Head over to Joanne's blog to see how other teachers are engaging their students!  


Happy Saturday!
Amanda


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Contraction Action!

Contractions can be a difficult concept to teach to kids...especially to struggling readers...so the more interactive the lessons can be to teach contractions, the better!

Normally I'm not used to teaching about contractions so early in the year, but my 2nd graders were ready for it and it fit right along with our guided reading texts, so we dove in last week, learning all about contractions! Most of these ideas I found on Pinterest, so I'm not claiming these ideas as my own, but they did work super well in helping my friends understand contractions. :)

First we made an anchor chart and each day repeated "A contraction has an apostrophe that takes the place of letters you see." It's a nice little rhyming sentence which helped my friends catch on quickly.  We then made contractions out of the various examples at the bottom for practice taking two words and turning them into the shorter form.

 I then read Alfie the Apostrophe. Both my friends and I just loved this book- Alfie is quite the apostrophe! This story gives great ideas about how and when to use apostrophes.
We also loved the apostrophe page in this book- after I read this short story to my little friends, we used highlighter tape to find different examples of apostrophe's in the text. We'll be doing that in our guided reading texts next week as well. It's a super way to make sure my friends are actually reading the contraction forms of the words rather than the longer format because that is definitely a common problem when reading!

We then made these two contraction foldables- super simple, but so useful! My little friends loved making their own too- I told them to make sure they quizzed their parents at home this weekend to see if they could figure out the contractions. :)

Of course it's always fun to practice contractions with QR codes too! All my friends do is find the matching long form for each contraction and then scan the QR code to make sure they grabbed the correct card. You can check out this pack here!
Have a great day!
Aylin

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Close Reading

Wow! My year is well underway now with 3 weeks already gone. If you've stopped by our blog before you know that I can go on and on about a few things, including: Evernote, QR Codes and Close Reading...mainly because I'm totally obsessed with all three of those things and I incorporate them a whole lot into my room. Since we've already got 3 weeks down, I'm ready to begin Close Reading with my friends.  This year I'm introducing close reading with anchor charts that will focus on the ideas below so they can get an idea for what we'll be doing when we close read and why we are going to be close reading all year long. It is important that both we as teachers and our students understand why there has been a big push for close reading lately.  By including all the components listed in the first pic below, we are helping our readers become deeper thinkers and getting them to rely ON THE TEXT to support their answers. 


One of the reasons I incorporate close reading into my weekly lessons is because I want my readers (even if they are struggling readers) to truly pay attention and understand the text they are hearing. By making them think more deeply about a text and listening to it repeatedly, I feel much more confident in their abilities to truly comprehend a text when reading on their own, with a partner, at home, etc. This in the end will then only make them better readers as the years go on.

Take a look at how I outline my close reading lessons for each read & reread! Our daily close reading lessons last 3 days and for about 20 minutes for each reading and responding activity.




Close reading passages and the follow up activities have been a great way for me to make sure I'm exposing my students not only to a variety of text types but also we are covering so many Common Core standards along the way!



If you are looking for some passages to use throughout the year like the examples above, please check out my passages and activities that I love using with my kindergartners and 1st graders by clicking the pictures below!





This is everything that is included in each pack for each passage.
Thanks to i Teach, What's Your Super Power for the graphics and Hello Jen Jones for the fonts!

Have a great day!
Aylin

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