Showing posts with label literacy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label literacy. Show all posts

Graphing Success: Preparing for Those State Assessments

Students will find success when they take ownership of their own learning. Proving their answers and graphing their successes make it real for them as they see what they can do!

It's that time of year again! Testing season is not far away, and we are all getting ready to help our students prepare for the standardized tests. My job as a reading specialist has shifted a little to help students as they work on those all important test taking strategies. This year, I am trying something different.

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Alphabet Books are for Everyone!

Alphabet books aren't just for the youngest readers. With so many choices, everyone can find one (or more) to enjoy!

And you thought they were just for the younger crowd! Did you know that children in all grade levels can benefit from lessons learned in various alphabet books? There are so many different alphabet books that serve different purposes and can be used in many different ways.

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Encourage Imagination and Oral Storytelling with Spot

Encourage students and children to use their imagination to tell stories.  The Spot app provides a platform to support this.

With each new set of students that we meet each year, one thing has become increasingly evident: oral language needs to be strengthened.  This could be for a number of reasons: more screen time, meals on the go, less playtime (recess too), or other changes in a culture.  But regardless of the reasons, as teachers we have to support language development.  Without oral language skills, comprehension, writing, and math explanations are much more difficult.  So what can we do?

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I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie!

Make your own big class big books using sight words and student pictures.

Up-to-date big books can be hard to come by.  They are expensive and not a priority in many school's budget.  So how can I implement big books in a classroom when I don't have the money to do so?

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Setting Up for Close Reading {and tons of FREEBIES!!}

Hello Everyone!

 Laura here from Where the Magic Happens Blog.  A few weeks ago I was invited to present at the 2016 South Eastern Reading Recovery Conference in Myrtle Beach. I was actually invited by my favorite professor (and mentor) from grad school. To say that I was humbled and honored is an understatement.
I have HUGE respect for Reading Recovery teachers because they are the real deal.
They know the nitty- gritty.
The understand the reading and writing process better than anybody else.
Every single RR teacher that I have ever met radiates knowledge and wisdom.

So my initial thoughts were:
What do I have to offer to such a knowledgeable crowd?
What will I share with them if they already know it all?

Close reading. Yes, that was my topic.


Anyhow, one of the most recurring  questions in my sessions had to do with the things that I do to set up close reading routines with my firsties.
Well  let me ya...
According to  Fisher & Frey:
Close reading  is purposeful, and careful  repeated readings of a complex text.
As a result, it is important to remember:
Close Reading is challenging. As a teacher you need be able to model and show your students the differences with guided reading.

The very first time I attempted  close reading with my firsties, one of my sweet students told me that close reading is like peeling an onion because you uncover layers and layers.


Genius! Truly genius!

My wheels were turning.

Then, my sweet teacher friend Krystal from next door also mentioned that she had seen something similar on Pinterest where a teacher used an Oreo cookie to introduce close reading to her students.

 The wheels kept on turning. Then I figured I would do this:


Of course I thought about this like at 9:30 at night when I was taking a bath with calming oils.
I usually keep tangerines in my house for me and  my boys, but I was out. People at my school may have thought that I was going coo-coo when they received my text messages asking if they had tangerine oranges in their homes. My beautiful and stylish literacy coach even offered to stop by the grocery store to get fruit. So sweet. I ended up going to the closest Harris Teeter before school and I purchased a big bag of  "cuties."

But why a tangerine? And what does a tangerine have to do with the phases of close reading?

Let me begin by  showing you the phases of a close read:



Some researchers may use terms like cold read, hot read, or warm read to name the phases of close reading.
I particularly like how Fisher & Frey "spell out" the phases of a close read.
Anyways...


For stage one or "what does the text say" I took the tangerine out and asked the children questions like:
What is this?
What do you see?
And others that I don't quite recall at this moment.  I have reached  and age in which I forget a lot of things. You just cannot tell because I use really good skincare
Anyways...
Each pair of students got to hold one tangerine. After I asked each question, I gave my firsties 30 seconds to do a "think-pair-share." What is important to consider here is how all the questions are grounded on the  things that we can "see"  about the tangerine, just like the questions of a first read in a  close reading.


For stage two or "how does the text work" I asked my students to get the tangerine ready to eat. They had to peel it, get the pieces ready, and some of them even had to take some of those white strings off.
I asked questions like:
What would happen if you didn't peel your tangerine?
Why do we have to pull the little pieces apart?
What are your observations?
Just like in the second read where we discuss vocabulary, author's purpose, and my favorite: text structure.


For stage three or "what does the text mean" I asked the pairs to eat their tangerine. I asked them questions related to their thoughts about the tangerine:
What did it taste like and why?
For example.


For stage four or "what does the ext inspire you to do" I asked for their personal opinion about the tangerine using evidence from their experience.

Pretty neat. Kids loved it and made true connections to our goal: understanding the phases of close reading




But why going to all the trouble about finding tangerines for this activity in the middle of the night?
Very simple:





A couple of years ago I  decided that I was going to start a vegetable garden.  I bought books,  seeds, Honey Graham built two raised beds, and he ordered some manure enriched soil. This was close to our anniversary, so when my mom asked what gift I had received, I openly told her that he had given me a pile of sh.
Anyways...
Here I am with all this stuff in front of me and no tools. Not. A. Single. One.
Not a little shovel, nothing.
I had to go and find some little plastic shovels out of the boys' beach toys pile.
So what if I had done this wonderful tangerine lesson and my firsties had no idea what to do when I asked them to read closely.
Well first, let me tell you:
In the primary classroom, a close reading MUST be guided by the teacher the whole time. There is no sit over there with this paper and answer these questions. That is NOT a close read. I would call that a worksheet.
Isn't  our job to prepare kids for anything? Aren't we supposed to give them the tools to do so?

Well... same thing with a close read.


What is inside this jar?

  • Three markers: each marker is for the first three phases of a close read. I put these labels on each of the markers so the kids know what to do and when.

I am so sorry I do not have pictures of the labeled markers.

You may download this set of labels by clicking HERE!!! the labels are Avery 5160.

There is also a cool pencil, a cool eraser, and these bookmarks:





Yes! These three think marks are what research considers appropriate for a close read. You can download them by clicking on the picture



 These are the labels that you can put on the jars. You can get them by clicking HERE!
Oh, BTW... the jars came from Oriental Trading Company.



Oh anchor charts and Thinking Maps... how I love you so.
I am going to let these pictures of this anchor chart speak for themselves.





I am an anchor chart aficionado.  In my experience, they offer an opportunity for my students to process deeply when they are offered as an initial experience.


 In case you are interested, you can stop by my TPT store and check out  my close reading packs.
I hope that you have found these tips useful and they can help you set up classroom routines for your students.
Until next time!






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Making the Math and Literacy Connection

Two years ago, I connected with some online reading friends and this blog was the result.  The journey has been fantastic.  In celebration of our blog birthday this month, we are reacquainting each of you with our authors and introducing new authors.  We are also doing an awesome giveaway at the end of the month, so keep checking back for more information.
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Last school year, I entered a new realm in my educational life as a math/science instructional coach after being a literacy coach for six years.  I continued to blog here to keep current on what works in literacy instruction.  This year I am excited to focus on blogging about making the literacy connection in math.
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Using the strategies students learn in reading during math, they can become better mathematicians, so they won't have to "chuckle about not being good at math."

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Each month, I will tackle a different topic that will help you make stronger connections between your math and literacy instruction, which will in turn help your students become more confident readers and mathematicians.


As a preview of what is to come, we will kick things off by talking about how to use a common literacy strategy in math:  word splash.

Word splash is a comprehension and vocabulary strategy where words and short phrases about a concept are "splashed" on the whiteboard, Smart Board, windows, or a large piece of paper.  Students create statements that connect at least two words/phrases as predictions about the concept(s) they are about to study.


What I love about using a word splash is it connects the beginning of the lesson to the end of the lesson.  Students make predictions.  You teach them about the concept (in this example - introduction to fractions).  Finally students come back to their predictions and determine which were correct and which were misconceptions.  To turn it into a summarizing activity, you can add some additional words learned through the lesson (examples:  numerator, denominator, thirds, halves) and have students create summary statements (or paragraphs) that connect as many words as possible in a meaningful way.

Word splash is an easy way to facilitate a discussion with students and providing them scaffolds to use the correct terminology.  Word splash is also a great way to give a pre-assessment and post-assessment without giving a "test."

Want to take it to the next level?  Have students create their own word splashes.  OR get the students moving.  Write each word on an index card (or name tag) and give one to each student (or place in random parts of the room).  Give students the opportunity to mingle and talk to each other about what they know about the words for five minutes.  Then have students go back to their seats to write connecting statements individually.

What are the connections to literacy?  So, so many:  making predictions, making connections, vocabulary, writing statements that require students to think about similarities and differences, summarizing.


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Sing Them A Story

Greetings!

This month is our two-year birthday here at Adventures in Literacy Land, and the plan is to have a good time sharing what we do best in our little classroom corners of the kingdom!

It has truly been a pleasure and a privilege for me to contribute to this collaborative blog for a year now!  I am always thoroughly inspired and educated by my fellow ALL friends each and every time I read their posts!  I can only hope that you come away from what I have to say with at least one or two ideas that you can use in your classroom tomorrow!


Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




In my twenty-five years as an advocate for blending music, movement, and literature across the curriculum, I have had many teachers tell me....

"Oh I can't carry a tune!  I can't include songs or chants in my teaching if I can't sing!"  

I just smile and say...

"The kids don't care if you sound like a sick frog. They will just start singing with you no matter how you sound!"

They then try to counter with.....

"But it's easy for you.....you play the guitar!"

I smile even more widely and say......

"But PIGGYBACK SONGS don't require instruments!"

Piggyback songs just require familiarity with the tunes of old and traditional folk songs, nursery rhymes, and circle games from your childhood.  Everybody knows the tune to Farmer In The Dell, London Bridges, Did You Ever See A Lassie, and A-Tisket, A-Tasket, right?

Now just grab some chart paper, a marker, and model how to change the words to fit your lesson topic or unit theme!  For example, today during our morning meeting, my "Sally Squirrel" puppet helped my second graders recall and sort the migrators, hibernators, and adaptors we'd met while reading  
Jan Brett's Annie and the Wild Animals.  


Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!








Their anchor chart then inspired me to write two piggyback songs to help the group review and remember our important science concepts, which then inspired me to write a few more winter-themed songs for YOU to use with your primary grade students!  



Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




You'll find the link to this FREE Sing Me A Story pack {HERE}.  It includes colorful cover sheets that can be used to create dividers for a class notebook, and a blackline cover sheet that you can use if you decide to staple all of the songs into student sets.   I've even included a list of some of my favorite picture books that are a perfect match for each song!



Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!




If you like using songs and rhyme to improve fluency, expression, and rhythm skills in your young readers, you might enjoy this post, Five Days & Five Ways To Use Poetry With Primary Grade Students over on my blog!   Click {HERE} to read all about it and see these two new resources I created!



Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!



As always, thanks so much for allowing me to share my stories and songs with you.  May the words of John Denver give you courage to share their magic with your little learners!



Songs that tell stories and piggyback off of familiar folk tunes are perfect ways to help primary grade students develop reading fluency!










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Getting Ready For Kindergarten Literacy Learning

                   
Hello everyone, Tara from Looney's Literacy here. Welcome back to school if you've started and even if you haven't,  I wish you all the best year yet!



I always love this time of year because everyone is so eager to be back. Everyone has rested and rejuvenated. We're learning rules and procedures and we're trying to create a safe culture in our building. I wanted to share some insight I've gained over the years and just this past week which was our first week back.

As an interventionist,  in a building-wide  Title I  district we no longer have criteria for students to qualify for Reading or Math Title I services. They are all Title I, including the staff! Because of this change, we've had to really rethink who receives small group pull-out services and who receives individual services.

Over the past couple of years we've used a literacy learning continuum, MAP & SAT scores  and BOY / MOY  benchmarks for service recommendations.  We have grade level team meetings twice a month to discuss any formative assessment data and who needs extra support.

So today, I'm going to discuss Kindergarten literacy learning and how we determine needs for extra support at the beginning if the year. I can't stress enough,  the importance of developmental milestone awareness. Developmental milestones that include both fine and gross motor development, speech and language development, social and emotional development, and brain development. (They really did know what they were doing when they included child development & psychology as  required courses in the Education Department.)

While literacy learning  is not a linear path, there are developmental milestones that need to be in place to help literacy learning become a  little easier. I like to observe Kindergarten for a week or so to see if I notice recurring behaviors that might raise some red flags regarding some of these developmental milestones. I make sure to see them using a writing utensil (for correct tri-pod grasp), setting on the carpet (spacial awareness & sensory seeking ), participating during their brain break (gross motor activity - because of time constraint I'm unable to observe during recess and P. E. but if I have concerns I ask the teachers about these times), during  independent work time an at the end of the day (social & emotional). Here's a brief list of things I watch for (click image to download document):

I record my observations on this sheet:


At our fist team meeting we'll discuss the teachers' observations and concerns and my observations and concerns. Then we decide how we're going to address the needs. Sometimes it's just a suggested strategy that a teacher uses in the classroom. If needed, I  might work with a small group in the classroom or pull-out. In the most severe cases,  we'll pull out individual students. Some examples of severe cases we've had in the past include, unable to speak in complete age- appropriate sentences, students who have a fist grasp with writing utensils, unable to use scissors, unable to write their name, unable to hear rhymes, etc. 

Stay tuned for more literacy learning strategies for K-6th,  as the beginning of the year continues to progress. You be able to find those here. 




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