Thursday, July 24, 2014

Keeping up with Book Boxes- a management tip

This system works so well! Each group has a specific day of the week they are allowed to change books. While everyone else is reading to self, the group of the day is allowed to trade books in the library. The empty squares next to each group is where I write the level they can choose from. It's so simple. It takes a little bit of training, but then book trades run themselves.This leaves me open to conference with other students. Not sure if this is a mind blowing tip, but when I had teachers come observe last year, this is what they raved about so I thought I'd share the idea. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bear-y Common Core Updated with Bear-y Good Freebies!

Wow! Two posts in one week from me. I am on a roll! :)
We start school in exactly two weeks! Yikes! Since we start on a Wednesday, I like to have the first 3 days filled with fun activities. Last year we changed our theme to bears and it was so fun! The kids loved the unit, so we are sticking with it!

Here are some of the activities we used.
First, I projected the Bears non-fiction reader and we read it as a class.
We read it one more time and had to decide on our favorite bear and why. I let students know they had to pick a bear from the text because of something they heard or saw in the text. In other words, "because it's soooo cute!" was not an acceptable answer. Then, the kids looked around the room to find the bear that was their favorite. They moved to the corner with their bear and when signaled they buddied up with a partner. When signaled again, they told their partner the reason they chose the bear.
Last year, this was pretty much an experiment. Could first graders give a text based reason within the fort three days of school? And guess what? They could!

Next, the students completed this opinion writing activity. Click the pic for this freebie!
We did lots of other fun filled math activities too.
-Making 5 with Teddy Grahams. Click for freebie!
-Gummy Bear Sorting/ Graphing
- Bring a Teddy day. We sorted our bears, measured our bears, described our bears..
If you're thinking about trying this unit out but study bears later in the year. You're in luck! I just added 4 new student readers for each bear and a venn diagram for compare/contrast. It would be a perfect mini student directed research project. Check out the unit on my TPT shop!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Read Like a Detective

Hello, Friends!
I have been MIA on this blog for quite awhile now, but I'm back!

For some reason last year threw me for a loop. I started the year with thirty firsties and had to split my class up in January because we added a teacher. It was so hard! I really hope I don't ever have to do that again.

I wanted to share something I worked on this summer after working on curriculum for my district in June. We started to design assessments for our Common Core Frameworks and are modeling them close to PARCC (a Common Core assessment consortium). We also reviewed and helped re-vamp the AZAC which is a Arizona reading comprehension test starting in 2nd grade. As a first grade teacher, reading the 2nd grade tests made me realize my students need to be exposed to these types of multiple choice text-based evidence questions in first grade. We can work through the questions together in whole group and small groups to better prepare them for 2nd grade when they need to be able to answer them independently.

Sooo... this summer, I started writing original passages to use when teaching the RL and RI standards. I am so excited to use these. The hardest part about teaching Common Core for me is finding passages that fit my needs at the primary level. I use Read Works all the time but they don't have skill specific passages for Kinder or First Grade. These are going to save me so much time next year!

These 50 passages are bundled or you can buy them separately if you only want a specific standard. The standards addressed in these passages include: RL.2,RL.3,RI.2,RI.4,RI.8,RI.9.

Here is what is included in the bundle:

-10 passages that focus on RL.2& RI.2

Students will practice retelling text with key details. There are 5 literary texts and 5 informative/explanatory texts including a how-to and a recipe.

-10 paired passages that focus on RI.9 
Students will find similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic.

-10 passages that focus on RL.3 

These passages will allow teachers to teach students to describe characters, setting and events. These passages also include developed characters that will allow students to describe a character’s traits and justify with evidence from the text. Most primary texts do not have well developed characters so teaching this skill is difficult unless done during a read aloud. Central message is also reinforced in these passages.

-10 Differentiated Opinion Passages that focus on RI.8 20 passages total! 

The best part is that I have included 2 levels of opinion pieces with/ without details/explanations for each support. This will allow for differentiation as well as the opportunity to use the passages as a writing lesson for students who are ready to add details/explanations to their supports. In order to write opinion pieces well, students need to have read many opinion pieces and studied the structure of this type of writing. 

If you're interested in these passages, click here to go to my TPT site.