Adventures in Literacy Land: Freebie

Showing posts with label Freebie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freebie. Show all posts

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.

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
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.
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!


Math and Literacy Connection: Vocabulary

One of the big connections between math and literacy is teaching academic vocabulary.  Without understanding of key vocabulary in math, students will struggle with each concept.  Because a teacher cannot assume that students will automatically understand content vocabulary, the teacher needs to employ the vocabulary strategies used during literacy instruction to mathematics.

Mathematical literacy is dependent on vocabulary knowledge.  Many of the words have meanings in math that are different from the meanings in every day use.
  • Product
    • something that is manufactured for sale
    • number or expression resulting from the multiplication of two or more numbers or expressions
  • Mean
    • deliberately unkind
    • a number equal to the sum of a set of numbers divided by how many numbers are in the set (average)
Knowing a word is more than just knowing the definition, which means that looking up definitions in the dictionary/glossary is not an effective way to help students create a firm foundation.  A fellow instructional coach and I created an interactive vocabulary strategy to help our students.  We used this strategy in grades PK-12 in all subjects.

The strategy has five steps that are easy to follow and help you create a plan to teach vocabulary more explicitly.

  • Choose the Words
    • The goal of this step is to choose 3 words per topic that are the most important to understanding the concepts being taught.  They are "umbrella" words that other vocabulary would fall under during the study of that topic.
  • Introduce the Words
    • Introduce the words without directly telling students the definitions of the words.  Give clues about the words using images and objects associated with the word.
    • Have students infer the meaning of the word and write a description.  This description is a starting place for their understanding of the word and the description will be modified as they learn more.
  • Infer Meaning using Context Clues
    • Read aloud a passage that has the vocabulary words in context (from a novel, textbook, article, teacher-created paragraph, etc.)
    • Create a class chart with three columns:  word, text clues, inferred meaning.
  • Create a Graphic Representation
    • Model creating a graphic representation (see FREEBIE below for template for this step) of one of the words making sure to think out loud for students about why the graphic was chosen.
    • This is a great step for students to do in groups.
  •   Interact with the Words
    • After being explicitly taught the vocabulary with the above steps, students will begin to interact with the words in a variety of ways:  graphic organizers, games, word association activities, etc. (see FREEBIE for ideas on how to do this)
One last thought (and a freebie) before you go:

CLICK HERE to download this strategy and CLICK HERE to download an example way to interact with the words - Word Association.

What do students think about this strategy?  Here are some direct quotes from eighth grade students:
  • "I think vocabulary strategies this year are a lot stronger than ones last year.  Now I can understand what words mean without struggling to memorize a definition from a dictionary.  Also, things are easier to sink in now."
  • "I love doing the skits and pictures, and I also love Pictionary and the clues.  Last year I didn't like learning vocabulary so much, but this year it's easier to learn the words when we're having fun."
  • "I love doing vocabulary this way instead of just looking up the definition the old way where you just copy out of a glossary.  It was much easier to learn this way."
If you missed the first post in the Math and Literacy Connection Series, go back to read about why the connection is important and learn about another vocabulary strategy - Word Splash.

Next month I will continue the series with poetry...math and poetry make a fantastic connection.

Math and Literacy Connection Series at Adventures in Literacy Land

 photo thinkingoutloudtitle.png

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing Folder

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing Folder
I was born to be a teacher.  My brother and sister will attest to that...I made them play school from the time they could hold a pencil.  I had a Raggedy Ann chalkboard and a box of carbon paper.  That's right, I could make 2 worksheets that were identical. See, I was supposed to be a teacher. I am excited to share all about writing folders for kindergarten and emergent writers.

Kindergarten students can be given Writing Folders in January of the school year.  By the time, they get their folders they are ready for them.  We have practiced writing and learned procedures for our writing time.  Let me walk you through the folder.

1, Front Pocket Label

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing Folder
As you can tell, I use 2-pocket, 3-prong folders.  The front pocket is labeled "Works in Progress" and the students learn to put their writing in this pocket while they are still working on it.  Before students have folders, we are doing whole group writing on chart paper.  Students walk through a daily process for writing that includes storing their writing day-to-day.  Creating this habit while it's a whole group activity, supports the students independent activities.  
6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing Folder

2. Writing Ideas Page

Once students are asked to write independently, they need to be allowed to CHOOSE their topic.  Providing topic cards, picture word books, and writing lists, students can choose 2 or 3 topics.  This sheet can be kept in the front pocket...behind the works in progress.  As they finish a story, the student moves the writing to back pocket and the writing ideas page takes center stage again.  Students can either choose a topic on the existing list or find new topics.  I have found the more they are allowed to choose what they are writing about, the more they write.  

3. Sound Chart

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing Folder
I'm kind of a freak about sound charts.  Emergent writers need something to hang their sounds on...and I want to be in charge of the connections.  I want short vowels.  I want hard c and hard g.  We practice these sounds every day and they are "experienced" in using this chart to stretch words and write sounds through our whole group writing lessons.  There are sound charts all over the room, but having another sound chart easily available is optimal.  As the students progress from this initial sound chart, I like to add a blends linking chart.

4. Rubric 

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing FolderAnother tool we use ALL THE TIME is the BIG 3.  We have made a giant anchor chart.  We sing the song every day.  We have hand motions to make sure we include capitals at the beginning, spaces in the middle, and an end mark at the end.  I like including a Big 3 rubric in the writing folder as another reminder for students.  Providing the rubric also allows students to self-evaluate their writing.

5. Personal Word Walls

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing FolderIncluding a personal word wall allows students to be independent and grow as writers and readers.  I include all the words introduced in the first and second nine weeks.  At the beginning of the third nine weeks, I switch out the word walls to include all of the words that will be introduced that 9 weeks.  I do the same at the beginning of the 4th nine weeks.  I can also add words as students ask for them.  I try to add sight words not topic specific words.  The word walls should be useful with all writing and I don't want to fill the word wall with story-specific words that won't help them beyond that one story.

6. Back Pocket Label 

6 MUST-HAVES for a Writing Folder
Finally, the back pocket is just as important as the front pocket.  I include a label that reads, "Completed Works."  Students put their "completed works" in this pocket.  When they have 3 completed stories, they are allowed to publish.  Students are allowed to choose their favorite of the three stories and re-write the stories on "special" paper.  "Special" paper is simply paper with a decorative edge or design.  When they choose the story for publishing, the others go home.

Allowing students to have choice and control over their writing will inevitably produce better writing.

If you would like a FREEBIE writing folder handout, click the link.


Hello from Literacy Spark

Hi there!  This is Jessica from Literacy Spark.  I am so excited to have joined Adventures in Literacy Land as a blogger this year.  The blog is celebrating it's second birthday and this month will be spent introducing you to our bloggers, both old and new.  Make sure to check back in to get reacquainted as well as to pick up some tips and freebies.  There will also be a large birthday giveaway at the end of the month!
So here's a little bit about me...I've been teaching for nine years. All of this has been in first and second grade.  The first five years I taught in Connecticut and the last four were in Texas (where I live now).  Two.  Different.  Worlds.  
A little over a year ago, I had my daughter Gracie and we also moved about 45 minutes north of Houston.  So, I left the classroom and am a stay at home mom for the time being.  
But JUST before getting pregnant, I had completed my master's degree in reading and language arts and received my reading specialist and master reading teacher certificates. So...kind of sad they aren't getting use...but future dream when I go back to work is to be a reading specialist or literacy coach.  

Because my first job was in first grade (and in the inner city with English Language Learners), I had to learn how to teach reading really fast!  Well, it didn't happen that fast as I clearly had no clue when I started...but I got there and it really turned into my passion.  

When I moved to Texas, I taught second grade and entered a district without reading specialists or coaches (who had really taught me so much at my previous job).  There wasn't even a guided reading library...yep, no books!?!?  And I was in a state obsessed with grading and testing.  It was a challenge.  But I was determined to still teach my students to READ (rather than how to take tests), keep the FUN in learning, and try to convince some of the rest of the staff to join me.

I look forward to blogging this year and bringing you the perspective of a classroom teacher but with the eye of a reading specialist.  I get it, really...the grades, the testing, the paperwork, the behavior, lack of materials, no interventionists...but we can still do the best we can!

We are supposed to be blogging about our "speciality" but I sort of feel like I'm in the middle of everything and nothing at the same time right now.  So for now I'm going to say my speciality is getting kids engaged, motivated, up and moving, and having fun while still learning concrete skills and strategies.
Since Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I've got a related freebie for you.  It's a little mini reader with ten right there factual questions.  Seems simple, but it really is a challenge to get young readers to actually go back and find the answers.  So this just reinforces the skill in a fun way.  
The questions are on full sheets of paper for you to put around the room in a scavenger hunt format to get your kids up and moving around.  Trust me, it makes everything a lot more fun.  Just post the ten questions somewhere around the room.  Read the book together, in partners, small group...whatever works.  Then have the kids get up with their books and go around hunting for the questions.  As they find the questions, they should refer to the little text for the answers, and record them next to the appropriate number on the back of the book.  Easy to prep, fun, reinforces a skill, and teaches some content!  You can grab it from my TpT store here.


Happy 2nd Birthday, Literacy Land!

Can you believe that Literacy Land is officially 2 years old?

Me either!!  

This has been a fun ride, and I have made some good friends who have taught me so much about literacy and helping students learn.  I have really enjoyed sharing my passion for all things literacy with all of you, our readers.

In 2016, we plan to continue bringing you literacy ideas you can take straight to your classroom. 

So, join us all through January as we reacquaint you with our bloggers and introduce some new bloggers to Lit Land.  Make sure you stop by all month for tips, freebies, and a giveaway at the end!  You don't want to miss the fun!

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars.  

I love spending time working with my students to make it fun and engaging. Though I love all things literacy, my favorite aspect to work with is comprehension.  When I plan for comprehension activities, I like to find things that will make it concrete.  

Our school uses Thinking Maps to help students think about what they have read or will read.  This helps them to put their thoughts onto paper and make it all real.

Another way I make it concrete is by working through activities that make them move.  Students may put sticky notes on a chart and move them around.  They may make foldables to show what they are learning. 

 And we play games to make it real.  

More than anything, we have fun ~ tons of fun!  Students enjoy working with me and look forward to our time together.  The students don't even realize we are learning!  

Join us throughout 2016 as we bring you literacy tips, tricks, and timesavers!

Before you go, grab this freebie of summarizing templates that are perfect for making comprehension real!

And join us at the end of the month for a huge giveaway!  You won't want to miss it!