Adventures in Literacy Land: JD's Rockin' Readers

Showing posts with label JD's Rockin' Readers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JD's Rockin' Readers. Show all posts

Focusing in on Guided Reading

Hi everyone!  It’s Jennie from JD’s Rockin’ Readers!  As you’ve probably heard by now Adventures in Literacy Land is celebrating its 2nd Birthday!  I’m very proud to say that I have been a part of this blog from the start.  I have gained some great friends over the past couple of years and I am so excited that we have some new bloggers on board this year!

We are talking about ourselves this month and what we feel we do well as teachers.  I thought I would talk just a bit about getting down to the nitty gritty of a Guided Reading Lesson.

I want to share with you today how I teach my Guided Reading Groups in a few short steps.

1.    I have an hour block for centers/guided reading each day.  I follow a mix of Daily 5 and additional centers.
2.    I try to meet with 3 groups a day.  It looks something like this:

Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 1
Group 4
Group 5
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 1
Group 4
Group 5
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
I like to meet with my lowest group every day, my low/middle groups 3x a week and then my highest two groups 2x a week.

3.    When I meet with a group, the first thing that we do is read the book that was read the last time we met.  It’s a reread and I will listen in and often take a running record on one of the students.  I want to make sure that the book is an appropriate instructional level.  After they read it, they put it into their Book Box that they use for Independent/Buddy Reading.

4.    Then, we do some sort of word work skill depending on the level book the students are reading.  This only takes about 3-5 minutes.  I like to make these very quick.

5.    Next, I will do a book introduction and we will take picture walk.  Many times, I will leave the ending as a “surprise” which then gives them a purpose to read.  We discuss important vocabulary words and also locate them in the text.

6.    Then it’s time to read.  This is VERY important.  During our lesson, every student reads the book independently.  We don’t do “round robin” reading.  It is imperative that every student reads the entire book- on their own.  I am there to help and intervene when needed to help them learn independent reading strategies.  I listen in as they read it with a whisper voice.

7.    Finally, since they are all reading at their own pace, they finish at different times.  I tell them to read it again until everyone is finished.  Then we will do some sort of quick comprehension skill.  After that, I keep the book until the next time we read.

I recently updated my Guided Reading Binder.  You can check it out by clicking on the picture!  I use Velcro for the student names so that I can easily change my groups around when I need to!  

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5 Tips that will help you LOVE your Listening Center

Do you have these problems with setting up and running a Listening Center?

You don't have enough books.
It's too noisy.
You don't have the "fancy smancy" listening center that costs hundreds of dollars.
The kids fight over who is running the Listening Center.

Here are a few ideas that may help you have a more organized Listening Center.

Have teachers put their resources together.  Share your listening center books.  Our first grade team has done this.  We have a common area where we keep our books.  Luckily, we had a great parent helper organize our books for us.

She was WAY organized and would seriously come all afternoon almost every day last school year.  Honestly, it was like having a personal assistant at school.  We miss her!

Anyway, here is what she came up with.

They are put in order first by "theme" that goes through the entire school year.  Then, the rest are in alphabetical order.  When we check out a set of books, we put the clothespin with our name on the books that we are using.  This way, others can see where the books are at and I know quickly where I need to return them.  

For years, I had students listen to books without any headphones.   My listening center is in the hallway right outside the door so they could listen directly from the CD player.  Here's the problem:  They were always talking and goofing around.

I got a headphone jack this year.  I thought it was going to be expensive, but it really wasn't- I got one that has 10 headphone jacks.  I had ordered it out of a school supply magazine for about $25.

Here is one from Amazon that only has four.  

Have you ever looked at the prices of a "fancy smancy" listening center?  Ridiculous!  I use a Boom Box (yes, I just said Boom Box).  It does the job.  It has both a CD player and a tape player in it.  I think I got mine at Wal-mart about 10 years ago and it still works!

I have "leaders" at the listening center.  I put a list of the center groups at the listening center (laminated) and then I just put a black dot next to the name of the person who is the leader that day.  I just go down the list each time I put a new book into the listening center.  We practice "A LOT" how to be a leader.  They are in charge of getting the books and handing them out, putting in the disc, and they are the ONLY ones who are touching the CD player.  

I mentioned above that I didn't use headphones for years.  I do now.  It is SOOO much better.  Each student has their own set of headphones.  We keep them at their "bookshelf" that is next to their table groups where we keep a lot of the supplies.  When they go to the listening center, they grab their headphones.  It is now QUIET at the listening center.  


Setting up Routines During Writing Workshop?

Hi Everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers.  If you know me at all, you know that I have a passion for Guided Reading and meeting the needs of all students during Guided Reading in my classroom.  What you might not know is that as much as I love Guided Reading, Writing Workshop is actually my favorite part of the day... there are two big reasons why!
 1.      The kids LOVE writing workshop.
2.   Each student is working at their own level! 
Please know that what I write in this blog post is how I run my Writing Workshop.  I realize different things work for different people.  What I am going to write about works for me and my kiddos.  I hope that maybe I can give you some ideas to add to your writing workshop time…
Why do I choose to teach writing in a Writing Workshop format?
  • ALL students are working at their own level!
  • Students get to choose topics that interest them to write about.
  • The mini-lesson allows for Interactive Writing (share the pen).
  • Writing Workshop allows the teacher to conference with students individually or in small groups to focus on their needs.
How do I get started with Writing Workshop?
  • I start on DAY 1.  I encourage students to just write, write, write from the start.  Anything goes and no matter what they are writing about- it is AMAZING!
  • I get REALLY excited each day before we start writing.  I tell them how much I love writing workshop and how much they are going to love it too!  Positive energy about writing is really contagious!
  • The first days/weeks I really focus on the rules, routines, and organization of Writing Workshop.
If you were to walk into my room during Writing Workshop, what would it look like?
  • Writing Workshop lasts about 45-60 minutes every day.
  • First, we do a mini-lesson (usually on the SMART board).  I try to keep the mini-lesson between 10-15 minutes.  Many times we are writing together doing a shared interactive writing and writing stories together.
  • After the mini-lesson students will begin writing on their own.  I call table groups to get their writing folder as we watch how well everyone can get started quickly and quietly.
  • I have soft music playing.  I usually listen to a Pandora station.
  • Students will be spread around the room.  I switch off each day, BOYS will work on the floor one day while the GIRLS are at their seats and then visa-versa.
  • Students on the floor are sitting on mats in their own area (they get to choose).  I don’t allow students to go under desks though or else it turns into a fight of who gets to sit where.  They must not be able to hold their arms out and touch another student.
  • I meet with students (usually about 5 each day).  We discuss their writing and talk about where they are going with it.  I focus on WHAT they are writing and spend very little time worried about mechanics.
  • Students write for about 20-30 minutes and then come to the “story pit” to share. 
  • I have sharing/conferencing charts that I use.  Each group has about 5 students and I meet with those students that day and then they also share.  They share their stories no matter where they are in the writing process.  We focus by giving 2 compliments and an idea.

My newest product is structured the way that I run my Writing Workshop.  I did these lessons with my first graders and they are now writing up a storm!  I love to see how excited they are when writing time comes around every day. 

Also, here are some Editing Checklists (freebie) that the kids can use to help them edit their own writing.

Also, here is an EDITABLE letter (freebie) that can be sent home to parents that tells a little about our Writing Workshop!

There is so much more that I could write about but I didn't want this post to go on and on... if you have any specific questions about how I run my Writing Workshop or any questions about this product, I would love to hear them!


Non-Fiction All About Books

Hi everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers!  I thought I would share with you today a little about what my class is working on during Writing Workshop!

This is my favorite time of year for writing with my first graders because we get into writing non-fiction (All About Books and How To Books).  The kids go CRAZY over writing non-fiction!  They honestly can't get enough!  

Before Christmas, we wrote an All About Reindeer book together as a class.  We did research together and learned about how to add different features to our books including a Table of Contents, Diagram, Glossary, and About the Author page.

Now, they are working at their own pace, writing All About Books.  They first started with topics that they knew a lot about without having to do research.  

I knew I wanted them to be able to write about a topic by doing some research too.  This is how it ended up working out best…

We have "computer" as one of our "specials" during the week.  We have a computer lab teacher that is working to teach them the basics with computers.  This is the first year we have had this and I think it is WONDERFUL!  When the kids went there this past week, they each got to do a little research of their own.

First, we decided to use the website Wild Kratts from PBS Kids.  The kids all went to this website- 

From here they could search for an animal that they wanted to learn more about.  I gave each student a recording sheet to write down different things that they have learned about their animal. Click on the picture if you would like a copy...

Once the student finds an animal, they can click different buttons that tell about the animal.  What I like about this website is that they can listen to facts as well as read them.

My students recorded the different things that they have learned and now they can write an All About Book about an animal that they just learned about!

I would love to hear about how you do Non-Fiction (informational writing) in classroom!


Research- How Kids can Research by Reading Level

Hi Literacy Land Friends!  Before Christmas Break, we were doing some research to help us write our All About Books.  I have a tip to share with you today.  While doing our research, we talked about where we can find information and of course the internet is a great way to go.  However, the material that the students have to read is just way too difficult for my first graders.  I am here to show you a way to help with that problem.  Is it full proof?  No- but it is a start.

Here some easy steps to follow.

Step 1:  Go to

Step 2:  Type in the topic that you want to search.

Step 3:  Click on Search Tools and then tab that says All Results and go to Reading Level.

Step 4:  Click on the reading level that you want.  For my first graders, I would click on Basic.

Step 5:  The posts that will come up at the top will be the easiest to read and most kid-friendly. 

I searched Bats and I got websites such as:
Bats for Kids
National Geographic
Animal Discovery
It at least makes research a little easier:)