Friday, July 12, 2013

Guided Reading: Chapter 4

Welcome to week 4 of the Freebielicious Summer book study!  When discussing Chapter 3 last week in The Next Step in Guided Reading, I posted a couple pictures of my Guided Reading Starter Kit. is ready! This pack discusses how to start teaching rotations/centers to get your students ready for guided reading. It has initial assessments, rhyming cards, syllable cards, etc. You can see a preview below or click HERE to take a closer look on TPT.  
This week I am lucky enough to host the study with 2 of my wonderful friends, Maria from Kinder-Craze and Krissy from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business.
This chapter discusses students that are in the early reading stage. These students know their letters and sounds, but may still be learning how to apply their knowledge in reading. They also know how to read about 20 sight words.

Just like I discussed in the previous post on Pre-A and Emergent Readers, you will assess your Early Reading students to see their exact level. You will want to pay close attention to their comprehension and self-monitoring skills. You will also want to keep a sight word list available.
This way you can track the sight words you teach and easily write them down.  Jan Richardson suggests to not only keep track of the sight words that students know how to read, but also whether or not they know how to write the sight word. You will maintain this record and use it to help select guided reading books, plan your word studies, and create your dictated sentences for guided writing.
I keep all of my materials for my 4 different groups in these bins
They stay right on the counter behind me and definitely help me keep my materials easily accessible and organized!

Description of Lesson (a 2 day plan)
Sight Word Review(1 minute): Quickly pass out white boards and have the students write a couple of sight words that were taught during previous guided reading lessons. If they can spell the word correctly, check it off on their sight word checklist. Students should have about 6 checkmarks next to the same sight word before they actually 'know' the word. This way, they have spelled the word 6 separate times and spelled it correctly 6 times.  I LOVE these white boards and so do my kids. I actually bought an entire class set. They love to flip them around like they are 'revealing their sight word to me...somehow they turn everything into a game 
Introduction (3-4 minutes): Introduce the book you are going to read. Tell them the characters names and the problem in the story. Have students conduct a picture walk. While they are looking through the book, point out any new sight words or any new vocabulary that they may come across.

First Reading (8-10 minutes on the first day and 5-8 on the second day): Allow students to quietly read to themselves. As they are reading, you can work with individual students on a target strategy (self-monitoring, decoding, fluency, comprehension). This will be the best time to differentiate your instruction! If other students finish early, they can reread the book.

Teaching Points (1-2 minutes): Decide what your students really need to work on. If they need to work on monitoring, then you can read a sentence incorrectly and have students pick out the error. If students need to work on rereading, then you can choose a difficult page and have them read it again. You can also teach a specific decoding strategy at this time or have students reread an easier page to practice fluency. I know a major teaching point in my class always seems to be comprehension! 

Discussion Prompt (1-2 minutes): Prepare an open ended question about the book for students to answer. I think this is a biggie with Common Core too :)

Teach One Sight Word (1 minute): If students already know between 50-60 sight words you can eliminate this activity. Otherwise, try to choose one new sight word to teach per book. Jan Richardson mentions some of my students' favorite activities to help teach sight words! What's Missing, Mix & Fix, table writing, and whiteboards are all fun and help kids learn new words.

Word Study (day 1 only-5 minutes): Pick one word study activity that matches your students decoding/phonics needs. One of the activities that I do a lot (because my students usually need it), is a digraph picture sort. I love that Jan Richardson said to only concentrate on sh, th, and ch and leave out wh. I find that wh confuses children! I also do A LOT of making words. I don't use magnetic letters, mainly because I don't have that many, but instead I use small letter cards that came with my Treasures reading series. When I get the letters our for the making words activity, my children are usually like 'YES!!' They love this!

Guided Writing (day 2 only-5 minutes): Make simple journals for your students by folding a piece of construction paper in half and adding lined paper. I add paper without handwriting lines at the beginning of the year and then change over to handwriting lines when they are ready. Some options that I like for the guided writing portion are dictated sentences and writing about the beginning/middle/end of the story you read. During this time you can make sure children are spelling their sight words correctly, using the correct letter formation, and sounding out unknown words correctly.

It's A Blog Hop!!

Make sure to check out my other wonderful hostesses thoughts on this chapter by clicking on their blog below!  We would also love for you to link up too!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Guided Reading: Chapter 3

I can't believe we are already in week 3 of the Freebielicious Summer book study! This summer is just going by way too fast! In Chapter 3 of The Next Step in Guided Reading, Jan Richardson does a great job of explaining exactly how to start guided reading! This week a few of the Freebielicious girls are hosting. We have Marsha from Differentiated Kindergarten, Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle, Mandy from A Special Kind of Class, and Lidia from Kinder Alphabet.
This chapter was a biggie for me. Not just because I teach kindergarten and have a lot of emergent readers, but because I teach at a school that is heavily populated with ELL students. We get a lot of new students from South America, in all grades, and some need to start from the beginning as well! I honestly learned so much from this chapter and will be adjusting my reading groups this year for sure!

Letter Tracing
After reading this chapter I realized I don't have my emergent readers do this enough. So, I have a new plan! Jan Richardson suggests that students should use letter tracing books that include  the same pictures that are used elsewhere in the classroom. Right now I have the same images on my ABC posters and on my word wall.  
Every morning we sing the ABCs, 'A for apple, /a/, /a/.'
What I did today was create another version of my ABC posters on half size pages.
 I am going to print these and bind them into a book. I will have enough copies made for a reading group. These books will sit at a center. The first couple of minutes of that center, students will trace their letters and sing the same song we sing in the morning. I also made a black and white version to print and have students keep in their book bins.

Preparing/Teaching Pre-A lessons
Jan Richardson suggests keeping groups no larger than 4 students. Sometimes this is just not possible. I usually have 5-6 students per group; however, I do try my best to keep my struggling readers in a smaller group. Groups should last between 15-20 minutes and  should include 4 different items:
Working With Letters and Names- (3 to 4 minutes) It is important to know exactly what letters students need to work on within each reading group. Jan Richardson suggests creating a letter names and sounds checklist for each group-with all students names/scores on the same page. I have created one here that you are more than welcome to use. Just click on the image below.
Run the page, seen above, front and back so you have enough space for each child in your group. Having this checklist in front of you will be a huge help. If you notice that one student needs to work on a particular letter than you can specifically ask them to locate it in a book you are reading, etc.
Now, in a sheet protector, put an alphabet chart (with the same pictures that are used throughout your room) and a sheet on the opposite side for Rainbow Writing. On the Rainbow Writing sheet you will write the child's name to be used during the group. It is important to start letter knowledge by teaching the letters in a child's name. Children will trace over their name with dry erase markers.
Working With Sounds- (2 to 3 minutes) During this portion of your group, students should clap syllables, work with rhymes, and conduct picture sorts. Most of these activities I always include in my thematic packs on TPT. It is great to use those lesson activities during this time. However, when you clap syllables, you can just use the students alphabet chart or words that are in their guided reading book. I have syllable pictures included in my Guided Reading Starter kit that you can use as well. 
When working with rhymes, students should be able to hear 2 words that rhyme. The teacher should say 2 words and students should be able to give a 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' depending on whether the 2 words rhyme or not. You can glue these thumbs onto popsicle sticks for students to use:
I am also including rhyming cards in my guided reading pack. 
When students are ready, they should be able to match 2 rhyming pictures together. 
Lastly, during this 2 to 3 minute time period, you should do a quick picture sort. Give each student 4 picture cards (2 for each sound you are sorting) and tell them what the picture is. Write the 2 letters you are sorting onto a white board or piece of paper. Have students take turns saying their picture, the letter sound, and the letter. Then, let them sort their picture. Don't rush don't want them guessing. In my guided reading pack I am including pictures for a consonant sort as well.  
Working With Books- (5 minutes) Choose a simple guided reading book for this part. The book should be small enough for each student to hold in their hands. Start off by doing a picture walk, encouraging students to use complete sentences. Then, read the book with the students before having them read independently.  During these 5 minutes make sure to work on concepts of print as well: concept of a word, first/last word, concept of a letter, first/last letter, punctuation, etc.
Interactive Writing- (5 minutes) Dictate a simple sentence to the students with four to six words. This sentence can relate to the book you just read to keep students engaged. Have the students repeat the sentence to you. As they are repeating the sentence, pass out their alphabet charts and a dry erase marker. Make a line for each word in the sentence on a sentence strip. Have one student help you write. As you sound out the sentence with the group, one student will write the sounds they hear while the other students will find those sounds on their alphabet chart. During this time, don't use inventive spelling. For all of the sounds the students cannot hear, the teacher will write on the sentence strip for them. After you are done writing the sentence, cut the sentence apart and have students work together as a group to put the sentence back together. 
You can find all of the above information and activities in my Guided Reading Kit:

Preparing/Teaching Emergent lessons
Now students are ready to learn sight words! Similarly to how you keep track of students letters/sounds, you will keep track of the sight words that they know. You can write the sight word in the first column and make a check in the students' column as they learn that sight word. You will have one form per group (click below for your copy).
When choosing the 'just right' book for this group, consider the following: 
-Story makes sense
-Strong picture support
-Mostly familiar concepts
-some familiar sight words
-some repetitive phrases
-one new sight word
I am using Journeys reading series this year and haven't had a chance to look at their guided readers yet; however, all of the series that I have used in the past have great emergent readers. I also have Maria's, from Kinder-Craze, Bundle of Books. They are fantastic! They introduce a new sight word, they are repetitive, they have familiar vocabulary, etc. Here is a student working with Maria's books.
I also love how students can add these books into their book bins to practice independently. 

Looking Ahead
Next week I will be one of the ones hosting Chapter 4. I am looking forward to it!! As always, let me know if you have any questions!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Work on Writing

I am excited to be hosting this week's Freebielicous Linky Party. This week, we are sharing our ideas for Work on Writing!
Work on Writing is actually mine and usually my students' favorite center! Why do I love it so much? Because my students work at this center TOTALLY independently and quietly!

 I actually introduce this center the first week of school.  I usually start with a very simple write the room from my Monsters pack. I put this at my center so I can make sure to help any students that need help. Most of the kids pick up on writing the room quickly, then I usually move on to making lists. Again, I introduce it at my center so I can make sure all of the students understand their task. As I introduce different writing options, I add the one that they have learned into an organizer on the wall. They are all stored in the red wall organizer--I make multiple copies to leave in there year round.
Eventually, all of the writing options will be added and students can CHOOSE which one they want to work on. As you can see below, I have a lot of options for students to choose from! My kids usually gravitate towards writing the globe and writing the room for some reason! I also had a group of girls who just HAD to make a card, or two, almost everyday! Especially after I added envelopes and fake stamps to their Work on Writing center! But hey, anything to keep them writing!!

At the writing center I have numerous thematic word walls for them to use. These word walls are introduced to the students and I actually leave all of the themes out for them to use.

These are set up on file folders and are very easy to store. Here are some of my old ones (a little different clip art than the ones seen above).
 Inside there are tons of thematic words for them to use in their writing. This has REALLY helped my ELL students with their vocabulary and has been a huge reason in why my students work so independently at this center. No one asks me to help them sound out a word, or asks me to spell a word, etc. It is all right there for them!
Students can pull out the Ocean Words, for instance, and use that folder to create a list, write sentences, draw and write words, etc. All activities that are left in their center and were already introduced to them. Eventually my students actually learn how to spell a lot of these thematic words on their own which is awesome to see!! By the end of the year they are using these words to write all sorts of fun stories!
Later in the day, I have my actual Writer's Workshop. For me, this is set up totally different. I have the kids on the carpet for a whole group lesson. At the beginning of the year this usually consists of drawing a picture to represent a story. Then, we move into labeling and writing a simple sentence. After I teach my whole group lesson, my students have time to journal write, add to a story they have been working on, etc., practicing the skill that was just taught. We also write about what we are learning in social studies or science A LOT. My kids really enjoy writing about nonfiction topics! 
With writing sentences and stories independently, I have learned to be very patient! It takes time! I visit at least one person per table during writing time to help them sound out words. The other kids at the table are usually 'listening in' and I end up indirectly helping them as well. 
I know there is so much more to say about writing! That is why I can't wait to read some tips from other bloggers! and don't worry if you don't have a blog--I would LOVE for you to leave a comment and share what you do or any tips you may have!

Don't forget to follow me now on Blog Lovin'
After you follow me on Blog Lovin' leave your email in a comment and after checking, I will choose one winner to win one of my writing packs discussed in this post!  The winner is #54 Katrina! I will be emailing you shortly!
I have also been working with some of my blogging buddies and we have a pretty big surprise planned for this week. The only way to find out that surprise is to make sure you are following me on Facebook!! 
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