Adventures in Literacy Land: Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl

Showing posts with label Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl. Show all posts

Summarizing... Getting to the HEART of the Story

Summarizing gets to the heart of the story.  Starting with stating summaries orally, students can be instructed to write independent summaries with ease.

SOMEBODY...

Another Reading Comprehension strategy that can be used in all primary classrooms is Summarizing.  Too often students think summarizing is retelling.  In order to get a quick summary you need to get to the heart of the story.
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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.

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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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6 Things To Do with Paint Chips

I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.
I can't help it.  There is something about those multi-hue swatches that is so appealing.  I used them when I taught a scrapbook class on colors.  AND I love the commercials from Sherman-Williams using animated paint chips.   



I can't help it.  There is something about those multi-hues that is so appealing.  I used them when I taught a scrapbook class on colors.  AND I love the commercials from Sherman-Williams using animated paint chips.   Here are a few ideas for using them in your classroom.
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

1. Vocabulary Gradients

I love this idea.  It's a play on "Said is dead!"  If you want your students to stop using "generic" adjectives like cold, hot, small, and big, give them other ideas.  True text gradients, show words on a scale...icy is colder than cold, but arctic is colder than icy.  However, using smaller or shortened paint chips, even kindergarten can use it to describe "small" as tiny, little, or itty-bitty.  Vocabulary gradients can be alternative adjectives.  Students can also be given a mentor text to hunt for words on the gradient.  In the book "Shiver Me Letters:  A Pirate ABC," students can work in pairs in a word hunt to find words for said and write them on the paint chips.  They can find roared, cried, yelled, questioned, and moaned.) Later, when they are writing you can encourage them to make their writing "colorful."
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

2. Word Family Fluency Flips

As a word family is introduced, this is fun way to practice changing the onset.  Write several words from a single family on a colored strip and secure them with a ring.  Providing the students with word family words on a ring can create a fluency activity for independent reading.  
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

3. Fill in the Blanks

I would suggest laminating these cards and allowing students to use a dry erase marker, but make sure they know they can't erase until someone checks their work.  You can even tell them to write it with dry erase first, then copy the strips to a piece of paper.  This could also be adapted for several math activities, including filling in the missing addend, counting by 2, 5, or 10's, multiplication facts, and patterns.
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

4. Compound Words

This is a "newfangled" (it's a word) paint chip is great for anything that needs to be constructed or deconstructed.  Again, laminate and use dry erase.  They set above is for compound words, but it could be used for prefixes, suffixes, contractions, and...who knows what else.  Again, this can be used for math with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts (to name a few).
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

5. Summary Bookmarks

This activity combines three of my favorite things:  The Magic Tree House, SWBSA, and paint chips. Providing students with a bookmark for their summary is the perfect way to create a reading response activity.  If you'd like a full description of the summary strategy Somebody, Wanted, But, So, And, CLICK HERE. These can also be laminated for extended use.
I LOVE paint chips. They can be used for so many things in and out of the classroom. This post is about 6 ways to use these in your classroom.

6. Classroom Fun

Finally, this is just a fun one.  I loved making these ornaments at our Winter Party.  

Want more?

Check out my Pinterest Board for Paint Chips.


Be Fair

Don't clean out any paint supply section.  Get what you need here and there...and laminate when you can.  For those of you who don't have access to paint chips, I made a sample pack of things to do. If you'd like a copy, CLICK HERE or click the picture below.


SO this is my mini-obsession.  Do you use these differently?

Although I posted this originally on my blog, Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl, I thought iwas definitely worth the re-post.  I hope you agree.





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5 Reasons to Put a Book in their Hands...EVERYDAY!

Teachers know books are the key.  

Teachers are quick to incorporate Read Alouds, both fiction and non-fiction, into lessons for reading skills, math, science and social studies.  Teachers provide students with books in guided reading small group sessions…and then they take it back.  WHAT?

...STOP…WHAT?  


Yep, they take it back.  "What if they lose a book?"  "What if they get mixed up with someone else's books?"  It is unbelievable to me, but ONE exposure to a book cannot be considered valuable or “best practice.”

Here are 5 reasons they NEED the books at their disposal EVERY DAY.

A new book EVERYDAY...no matter what?  Emergent readers need lots of practice with text.  Giving them a new book to add to their book bag every day lets them Practice, Build Word Wall Word Knowledge, Create Responsibility, Foster Independence, and Ensure a LOVE of reading.  What more could we ask for?

Practice.  If you want a child to be better at piano, you make them practice.  If you want a child to be better at soccer, you make them practice.  If you want to child to be better at dance, you make them practice.  If you want a child to be better at reading, you make them practice.  You would not give them a piece to play on the piano ONCE.  You would not have them kick a soccer ball ONCE.  WHY would you expect a student to become a successful reader with one glance at a book.  Students need to have the books from small group at their disposal to develop comprehension, fluency and expression.  They need practice every day...with new books every day!  I provided each student with a gallon-sized Ziploc(R) bag.  Each day they get give me the oldest book in their bag and they get a new book.  There are always 5 books in their bags.  They need LOTS and LOTS of exposure to text on their level!  Practice makes permanent.
A new book EVERYDAY...no matter what?  Emergent readers need lots of practice with text.  Giving them a new book to add to their book bag every day lets them Practice, Build Word Wall Word Knowledge, Create Responsibility, Foster Independence, and Ensure a LOVE of reading.  What more could we ask for?
Word wall words or sight words CANNOT be learned in isolation.  Well, they can be…but, why would you?  When students are just beginning to connect letters to sounds and sounds to words every connection made clear makes an impact on their learning.  Early readers, levels A – C, are sight word heavy.  Typically a word or two is repeated in predictable text can not only provide further practice with fluency, students are practicing sight words on every page.  As they become more and more familiar with these books the sight words become easily recognized and ingrained.

A new book EVERYDAY...no matter what?  Emergent readers need lots of practice with text.  Giving them a new book to add to their book bag every day lets them Practice, Build Word Wall Word Knowledge, Create Responsibility, Foster Independence, and Ensure a LOVE of reading.  What more could we ask for?
Responsibility is another key skill for early learners.  Giving them the responsibility of their book baggie allows them to have a part in their learning.  They need to bring the book baggie to the small group table.  They need to make sure their book baggie is put in the proper place.  They need to make sure their books are kept in the baggie.  
A new book EVERYDAY...no matter what?  Emergent readers need lots of practice with text.  Giving them a new book to add to their book bag every day lets them Practice, Build Word Wall Word Knowledge, Create Responsibility, Foster Independence, and Ensure a LOVE of reading.  What more could we ask for?
Independence is one of the most important skills students can acquire through books.  After a small group lesson students keep the book in their book baggie (a Ziploc® bag with their name).  These bags are kept in a specific place in the room.  When students are finished with their work, they can get their book baggie and sit in the classroom library to read.  They know how, when, and where to read their books and it’s up to them to do it.  
A new book EVERYDAY...no matter what?  Emergent readers need lots of practice with text.  Giving them a new book to add to their book bag every day lets them Practice, Build Word Wall Word Knowledge, Create Responsibility, Foster Independence, and Ensure a LOVE of reading.  What more could we ask for?
Finally, putting books in the hands EVERYDAY creates a routine of reading.  When the routine is created a love of reading can grow.  Students who know they will read every day and they will be successful every day.  Success feels good…so reading will feel good, too. AND THEN...love will grow!

Give them the books.  Don't be afraid!  It will make all the difference!








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Making Decoding Strategies Automatic: 3 Easy Steps


Hello, Everyone.  This is Cathy from Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl.  I am a reading specialist in a K-2 school.  I do both pull-out interventions and coaching, but have a soft spot for my pull-out kids. Two of my students this year are first grade students diagnosed with a "learning disability." (My undergraduate degree is in special education, so you know I love them.) They are the highlight of my day...and I won't deny I'd love to teach them all day!


When we started in late fall, these two were on a Level B and as of March they were moving into a Level D.  THEN, we hit a wall.  The D to E wall.  E seems to be the time when students are faced with lots of long vowel words, blends and digraphs, and word endings.  Here's what I know:  they can decode almost any word, IF I ask them questions and guide them.

For example, If they come to the word "gate."

     Me:  What do you know?        
Justin:  There is an "e" on the end?
     Me:  What does that mean?      
Justin:  The "e" makes the "a" says it's name.
     Me:  So, what is the word?      
Justin:  /g/ /a-a-a-a/ /t/,  gate.
     Me:  Great job!

What can I do?

My greatest challenge is getting the students to have their own internal dialog when using decoding strategies.  After a conversation with my Assistant Principal, we decided to try and practice the automaticity of the decoding strategies.  What does that mean?  I want them to come to an unknown word and think strategy first.  I have always "taught" and "practiced" the strategies, but I'm taking it one step farther.


1.  Play "Slap Jack"

I created a strip of the 3 strategies they seemed to need the most.  I chose 1 known and 2 unknown strategies.  We had been using CVC Sliders to practice our "slide and sound" with cvc words.   They have gotten pretty consistent with that strategy, so that became their "known" strategy.  The second strategy was the silent e "making the vowel say it's name (most of the time)."  We have talked about this strategy, but they needed concentrated practice with it.  The final strategy was "chop the endings."  We covered up or "chopped off" the endings to look at the base word for decoding.  To begin, I wrote 5 words for each strategy on an index card and when I flashed the card, they had to "slap the strategy" they would use to decode the word.  THEY DID NOT DECODE THE WORD.  This wasn't a decoding lesson, it was a strategy lesson.  We played this game for a week.  I let them sit side-by-side and slap the strategy together, but by the end of the week it was a race.  I wanted the strategy to be automatic.  The video below is Justin identifying the strategy for me.  (He said he didn't want to slap it, if it wasn't a game.  He thought he looked silly doing it alone.)
I hate that the video doesn't show all the strategies, but you get the idea.  By the end of the week, he was pointing to the strategy and saying the name of it.  That's what I want:  automaticity.

2.  Sort 

Part 1, we sorted with the cards from the week before.  I gave them the cards to sort under the strategy mat.  Yes, I should have made the cards smaller.  Lucky for you, I made small cards for you at the end of the post.  They would sort the cards as quickly as they could, then they would "prove" the cards belonged in that column.  They are still not reading the cards, they are just choosing a strategy.  Part 2, was a sort sheet.  This was an independent activity at the end of the week, but the students were still asked to "prove" the word belonged.  I also wanted to send a sample of a competed sort home to their parents.

3.  Read.

Finally, we read sentences I constructed with multiple strategies in each sentence.  As they came to an underlined word, they touched the strategy on the mat and then decoded the word.  They did a great job.  My favorite moment was when looking at the word "running" Justin said, "After I chop the ending, I can see a word to "slide and sound."  WOW...that's a moment, if you ask me.

Get your FREEBIE!

I made a FREEBIE set for this idea.  CLICK HERE or click the image below for the FREEBIE!



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When Whole Group Writing Transfers to Independent Writing


Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Isn't that every teachers dream?  

You do whole group lesson and after whole group lesson you want the students to transfer your whole group lesson to their independent journal writing.  Creating routines in kindergarten is as much about giving them tools, as it is about giving them time to practice the skill.  Our school system has adopted a new reading program and one of the writing lessons is persuasive writing.

Michelle Brinn, a fantastic kindergarten teacher, was tasked with 2 things:  Introduce your students to persuasive writing and do it in a 1/2 day kindergarten program.

We talked about how we could expose our youngest writers to persuasive writing and get it done in a 20 minute daily writing lesson.  Another obstacle in Michelle's lesson would be time.  She decided it would be a modeled writing, just to manage time.  We mapped a plan:
Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Monday

Decide what two items the students will compare.  The topic needs to be something that is easily understood...not every child will have opinions on soccer v baseball (of course, soccer is better) or whether summer or winter is the best season (of course, summer is better).  BUT they will probably have an opinion about whether dogs or cats are the better pet.

Tuesday

Talk about Option 1:  dogs.  What are 3 reasons dogs are great.  The students were eager to tell why their liked dogs, but we stuck with 3 ideas.  She asked them to keep all their other ideas for later in the post.

Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Wednesday

Talk about Option 2:  cats.  What are 3 reasons cats are better.  Once again, students were eager to share their ideas.  Students liked how cats were quiet.  

Thursday

The vote!  Students were asked to vote for their favorite pet.  They chose dogs (of course, they did).  Michelle asked for more reasons why dogs were the best choice.  Their ideas were fantastic.  

Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Friday

The wrap up!  Students were finally asked to write a closing sentence.  Michelle asked for MORE reasons dogs were chosen and the students came through with great ideas.

It was a success.

As a whole group writing lesson for the week, it was definitely a success.  The students were excited about pleading their case for why dogs were better than cats OR why cats were better than dogs.  BUT the really exciting part was getting ready to happen...

Independent Journal Time

With all the chatter and opinions about cats and dogs going on in her classroom, Michelle asked the students to write about it in their journals.  We were THRILLED with the results and I think you will be, too.
Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again:  Too often we give students excuses, instead of tools.  Michelle did a fantastic job of giving her students a tool for persuasive writing.  She gave them an easy plan...and time to practice. 

If you'd like a FREEBIE Persuasive Writing Card, click the image below.



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4 Sight Word Strategies for Emergent Readers

I won't drone on about the importance of sight words.  I believe even the earliest learners can be taught to recognize sight words...even before they know the letters.  I, personally, don't want them to think of the words as parts (l, o, o, k).  I need them to think of the words as a whole.

Here are 4 ideas for making sight words (word wall words) meaningful and easy for all students.



1.  In a recent post on Virginia is for Teachers, I talked about personal word walls.  This is a great tool for students.  This personal word wall is Jamie's.  He is a struggling reader and this personal word wall is focused on just the words he has been introduced to through his guided reading lessons.
2.  Sight word phrases are an easy way to get students to use the words in context, not just in isolation.  Having a phrase section on the word wall can help them practice the phrases as they read.  They can use them in writing and in centers.

3. Sight word games are a fun way to help the students practice their words.  The Roll-a-Word game can be played independently or as a team.  Independently students can roll the dice and color a square to build  a tower.  When they roll one word enough times to make a tower touch the top, they are done.  Adding a quick tally lesson, the class can tally which words make the tower each day.  At the end of the week, you have have a sight word winner.  If you want it to be a partner game, each student will need a different color crayon.  Each student will roll the dice and color a square with their color.  Whoever colors the square that reaches the top, will be the winner.  The Fluency Races are especially fun.  Students roll the dice and read the column as fast as they can. They have to start over if they mess up, but they think it's fun.
4.  Having a sight word component to centers makes the centers strategic, as well as independent.  Each week the Art Center and Poetry Center are the poem of the week from the week before.  The poems are familiar.  They circle word wall words and color in yellow.  The ABC Center above was an activity with in/on.  The Dry Erase Center is set up with sight words and phrases.  Students can practice writing.  

CLICK HERE to get a FREEBIE set of Sight Word Activities.








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