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Why Small Group Instruction Can Not Be Ignored

The Situation

Student one transferred into Lincoln Park Elementary in October from Texas. She is in fifth grade and English is her second language. Her reading level is late third and comprehension is a challenge.

Student two has attended Lincoln Park Elementary since kindergarten. He has always struggled with reading. He struggles with spelling and writing. His reading lacks fluency, and decoding unfamiliar words is challenging.

Student three has also attended Lincoln Park Elementary since kindergarten. She is on grade level, has passed state assessments with a score slightly above the cut score. She struggles with attention at times and is being treated for ADHD. She's very inquisitive, and with some modifications in class, she's kept on task. Comprehension can be impacted when the environment is distracting.

The final student joined Lincoln Park Elementary in second grade. He was identified for the talented and gifted program in third grade. He is an avid reader with a rich vocabulary. He's a quiet child, never complains, and keeps busy with independent reading when other work is complete.

Word Hunts: The Cornerstone of Word Study Instruction

Word Hunts help to ensure that students really understand those features. Make sure they are done right with tips in this post.

For years, I taught third graders, and we focused on word study instruction quite a bit. After learning our features and how they work, the best part of the week was the word hunt. Students would use what they knew and really focused their learning on the features and not just the words.

Effectively Using a Para in the Literacy Classroom

Do you have a paraprofessional in your literacy classroom for part or all of the day?  Check out this post on how to effectively use your para for your students' benefit!
Some of us are lucky enough to have an aide or paraprofessional ("para") in our classroom for one, or maybe many, periods throughout the day.  This may be to meet the needs of special education students, ESL students, struggling readers, or just because.  Sometimes these paras enter the classroom with specific tasks and other times they do not and it is up to the classroom teacher to provide them.  

Having been an ESL teacher, most of the positions I have held allowed for a para to be in my classroom for about 30-60 minutes per day.  Of course if there were assessments occurring, staff absent, or anything special going on this did not occur.  BUT, having an extra person for even just a small amount of time can be very useful!

Reading Centers: A Couple Ideas

We are in the full swing of literacy centers in my kindergarten classroom.  I'm always looking for new ways to make reading instruction and skill practice exciting for my kiddos.

I downloaded these free CVC/CCVC cards on TpT, but you could use any picture cards to cover skills you are working on. My students use magnetic letters to build the words on a magnetic board.  I purchased the magnetic boards at JoAnn Etc. 3-4 years ago.  I only have 3, so any additional students use a magnetic dry erase board.  They take a photo and upload to the Seesaw app for me to see and to share with their families.  They are excited to use the magnetic letters, and I feel this is something we can use throughout the year to practice many different skills (CVC, CVCe, sight words, etc).


In Kindergarten, the first few weeks are all about our ABC's!!

Each day, we introduced a new letter and it went a little something like this:

We start our morning with a letter review. We introduce the letter and its sound. Then we practice stretching some words with that sound.  I find it helpful to have the kids applying their sounds as they are learning them.  It gives them a purpose rather than just rote memorization.  After we blend a few words, we sing some songs.  My kiddos LOVE Heidisongs and we sing them every day. 

Celebrating Columbus Day

Celebrating Columbus Day with kindergartners can include reading, singing, writing and making a ship. Here are a few ideas for teaching our early learners.

In 1492...Read a Book

One of my favorite books for Columbus Day is In 1492 by Jean Marzollo.  The book is written in rhyme and engages the students.  We read the entire book Monday, but return to the text for a variety of facts during the week.

Homework: The Great Debate

As I'm sure you've all seen, homework has been in the news. The teacher from Texas sent a letter home to her parents, someone posted it, and it went viral.  There has been more publicity with homework because of this, but I have struggled with it for a while. As the RtI coordinator in our building, had a teacher refer a student for academic difficulties, but blamed the issue entirely on incomplete homework. Really? Should homework hold that much power?
Homework is a hot topic.  Here are two options that allow for independent practice AND student choice.  It's just one idea for homework.

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