Adventures in Literacy Land: literacy

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

Sowing The Seeds Of Vocabulary (Part Three)

esearch says children that struggle with comprehension also struggle with vocabulary.  This three part series lends quick and easy ways to expand your students' vocabulary and also strengthen their overall comprehension. Revisit Sowing The Seeds Of Vocabulary (Part One) to help you understand and implement vocabulary in your classroom.  The second post (Part Two) will remind you how important it is to use Marzano's Vocabulary Process and Multiple Intelligence Theory to reach all students. This post (Part Three) will walk you through implementing vocabulary whole group and small group.  Enjoy engaging your students with vocabulary throughout this new school year and beyond!
Research says children that struggle with comprehension also struggle with vocabulary.  This three-part series lends quick and easy ways to expand your students' vocabulary and also strengthen their overall comprehension. Revisit Sowing The Seeds Of Vocabulary (Part One) to help you understand and implement vocabulary in your classroom.  The second post (Part Two) will remind you how important it is to use Marzano's Vocabulary Process and Multiple Intelligence Theory to reach all students. This post (Part Three) will walk you through implementing vocabulary whole group and small group.  Enjoy engaging your students with vocabulary throughout this new school year and beyond!

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.


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.


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?


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?


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!


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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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. 


Fun Ways to Incorporate Literacy into your Summertime Activites

Hi everyone! I know some of you teachers have been on summer vacation for weeks or even a month, but my last day of school was just over a week ago! I have been thinking about ways you can incorporate literacy during your summer and keeping it fun for your kids. And literacy is more than reading, but reading is the backbone of it - don't forget about things like writing, rhyming, phonics and poetry as part of summer literacy! Here are some ways I think you could keep literacy in your summer and keep it  fun!

Kids love jokes- even bad ones! Grab some joke books or even read the silly jokes that are on popsicle sticks. If your kids already know a lot of jokes, a summer activity could be making their own joke book. 
Here are a couple books that might tickle your kids' fancy! 

Laugh out loud jokes for Kids by Rob Elliot and The Everything  Kids Giant Book of Jokes, Riddles and Brain Teasers (click to learn more)


Restaurant Menus and Placemats!
Many kids' menus have fun facts, word searches and other literacy activities. Your menus may also be great for reading and learning. For example, a restaurant I was at the other day had some interesting facts. It was in a building from the 1800s and was originally the city’s first gas utility building.  Gas from the building would be used to light the gas lamps. 

The License Plate Game
What a fun game for traveling! You can do it while taking long (or short) car rides. You can play it informally, you can keep a notebook in the back seat for your kids to record what they see, or use a formal game product like the one below by Melissa and Doug. You can also look for vanity plates and a fun challenge- trying to figure out what the license plates say when they are missing letters!

Melissa and Doug's License Plate Game (click for more info)

Find a Pen Pal
Kids love pen pal - both for handwritten letters and e-mails. International Pen Friends helps hook kids and adults up with pen pals from more than 150 countries. Click here and of course, supervising your kid's communication might be wise! Also this website, called Great Kids! has a fun pen pal project. Learn more here.

Scavenger Hunts
The possibilities for scavenger hunts are endless. Kids can write the list of items or you can. The things to find or do can also include writing or reading!

Funny Stories
I still use Mad Libs with my class. They love them! If you can't get your hands on Mad Libs, you and your kids can make your own, or make up your own silly stories! Type them, write them, or video them!

Sight Word Hopscotch
At home, or when you travel, try some sight word hopscotch. Draw a hopscotch frame and instead of numbers, write sight words and hop away!

Record Your Own Audio Book or Book on Video
Either your kids or you can read a book and make an audio recording (there are plenty of apps that can help) or try reading a book and recording a video of it! Kids love being on camera! A twist on this is to make your own reader's theater version of a play and record it. My mom used to make little plays from scratch with my brother and I. We'd make props of cardboard, aluminum foil and whatever we had around. It was so fun!

Writing with Word Magnets
Grab some word magnets and make sentences or short stories. You can also make your own by writing on magnetic tape.

Here's some you might like!


Imaginary Play
Kids love to do imaginary play right? Well, there are ways to incorporate literacy in that play! If they are playing store or restaurant, they can make a menu or a “catalog”. Kids  can write receipts or checks for their sibling's or friend's purchases.

Museums or Zoos
There is a lot of possible reading and learning when you visit a museum or a zoo!

Make Your own Word Search
My second graders love to do this on graph paper or you can have them pick the words and you can make them. You can also use free online websites that will make the word searches (or crosswords, word scrambles, etc) for you!

Travel Journal or Scrapbook
Help your children make  a travel journal if you’re traveling! Simple and involves reading and writing!

Read and Sing!
There are lots of books that are also songs or easy to sing. Check out some of these rhyming books you can sing! Click on any to learn more.

Miss Mary Mack and other Other Children’s Street Rhymes by Joanna Cole and Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow 

Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar by Rozanne Williams and Rain Rain Go Away by Caroline Church  

You are my Sunshine by Caroline Church

Also, you may like to check out my previous post, Keep Kids Active and Engaged while Learning Reading Skills! I originally wrote it for teachers but parents can definitely do some of the activities at home this summer. Click here to check it out!