Sunday, December 29, 2013

A New Year Means A New Reading Routine

While I was browsing the net earlier today I came up with some great ideas that I plan to use at the beginning of the year. You all know that my students are struggling readers and can be as far as 4 grade levels behind so they are very reluctant to read. I've worked all year to get my groups reading and they were just to the point where they were starting to LOVE reading before we left for Winter Break. Starting in January I will have a whole new group of students, some may still be with me from last semester but most of them will not. This breaks my heart because they need all the help they can get but I have to do what I'm told right?

Anyways, I've decided that I'm going to switch up my lessons just a little to help kick start the new year! With non-fiction reading being such a huge part of the common core I thought I would start there. Then it hit me... If we are reading non-fiction why not watch non-fiction too?

Kids love watching videos, it doesn't even matter what the topic is about. Do you remember how excited you were when your teacher rolled in one of these?
Now, we don't have to load up the TV, VCR, etc. to watch videos anymore so why aren't we doing it more often? I know many of you are thinking, "Because I'm teaching CCSS and I don't have time to watch videos! DUH!" but that's where you and I are wrong... Don't we all have 2-3 minutes of transition time between subjects? Why not get your kids ready for reading while you transition! 

This is how I will be starting all of my lessons from now on; well at least how I will be starting my introduction lessons since some lessons last 2+ days. When teaching non-fiction I am going to do these two steps to help my students build comprehension of a topic:

Start each lesson with an anchor video:
  • This will help the students gain/build background knowledge and develop a mental image of the topic that we are about to discuss. 

Read about topic:
  • as a whole group (or in my case during small group pull-out) read an article, text, etc. about the non-fiction topic you are focusing on. During the reading focus on a comprehension skill (main idea, key details, cause and effect, etc.) and/or a reading strategy. 
You can find so many short clips of videos around the net that you will not need more than 2-5 minutes for the video introduction for your lesson. You can check out these 4 places to start your short video clip collection:

There are 100's of other places you could access too but these are just the top 4 that came to mind for me. 

I think this is going to be a huge change for my reading students but I also truly believe that it's going to make a huge change in the way they view reading! What do you think? Would you be willing do implement this routine into your reading lessons? I would love to hear your opinions and suggestions about this. 

Once the semester starts back and I have a few of these lessons under my belt I promise I will come back and let you all know how they are working. I am keep my hopes up that it will be just what I need to get my new students excited about reading! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 5 Tuesday

Happy Holidays! Can you believe that Christmas Eve is already here? I know many of use are doing last minute shopping, traveling, cooking, and so much more. I'm baking my families favorite homemade sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin pies, and getting ready to celebrate our annual family Christmas Eve event with my dad's side of the family tonight. But as an educator we all know that we never stop thinking about school, our students, lesson planning, and ideas to use when we head back. So, today I'm joining Comprehension Connections for the Top 5 Tuesday linky. I will be showcasing my Top 5 favorite pins from this week. 

I just love this anchor chart! I've been working with my students on asking and answering questions while reading and this will be the prefect addition to our lessons. This anchor chart gives you some very basic questions that you should ask yourself while reading to see if you understand the text. 

I just love fun, motivational, and easy to implement classroom management ideas! This pin is from The Creative Classroom. To read about how Mrs. Ellsworth is implementing this with her whole class click the link above! 
I can't wait to get back to school and start doing this with all 6 of my different small group classes!
During the month of January, each group will earn "marshmallow points" for demonstrating good choices, behavior, following the rules, and going above and beyond what it expected of them. At the end of the month whichever group(s) get 20 marshmallows will be rewarded with a hot cocoa with Mrs. Bourne! 

What a wonderful idea! A Non-fiction Reading Marathon. I wish I had seen this before Winter Break because it would have been perfect to use to get the kids excited about reading but also allow them to have a lot of fun. Fabulous in Fourth does a 110 minute reading marathon where the students alternate between reading a non-fiction text and creating a very cute and authentic poster with text components, questions, and facts about the book they reading. 

I love how fun and unique this biography idea is! This pin wasn't linked to a blog or any type of post, it's just a picture of how one teacher used pizza boxes to have her students create a biography about famous people in history. You could take this idea and run in so many different directions. I may try something like this for students to create examples of non-fiction text features. Oh, or maybe use it to show main idea and key details; 1 slice of the pizza could be the main idea and the other 5 slices could be key details. You could have them use the order pads to write the definition of a main idea and key detail, the title and author of the book, and give a summary of the text being read! How much fun would that be?! 

I'm absolutely in love with this last pin! When I was student teaching we did inference bags with my 1st grade class. You have the students select an item and secretly place it in their bag.Next, the student will write clues about their item and clue it onto the bag. You can have the students read their clues to the class and let their classmates guess infer what's inside or you can set it up as a center, like The Amazing Classroom did here . What I love most about this pin is the second way she used her inference bags as an interactive bulletin board for the entire school! Put the bags on a hallway board, have a box with inferring slips (for students or whole classes to use) and a box to place the slips in. Periodically open the answer box and pick slips to see if the guesses are correct. Reward students/classes who are inferred correctly!  

Well, that's my top 5 for this week! You can join in on the fun by linking up at Comprehension Connections Top 5 Tuesday post and adding your own top 5 pins for the week. I hope you all enjoy your Winter Break and have a very wonderful Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trading Spaces Tuesday ~ Early Finishers Ideas

Good morning everyone. I'm super excited today because I have Deniece, from This little Piggy Reads, guest blogging for me! She's wonderful and I know you are going to love reading her blog post! 

Hi, I'm Deniece from This Little Piggy Reads

Today I'm here Guest Blogging for Shanon at A Day in The Life of a Title 1 Teacher.  I also teach at a Title 1 School (in Texas).  For 9 years I was a Reading Teacher, but this year I'm living my dream of working with GT Students.  My gifted students often express their favorite thing about coming to my class is being challenged.  A quick way to challenge students in an inclusion classroom is through early finisher activities.

Two years ago, we were given a list of requirements and people would come around with checklists to make sure we had fulfilled the requirements.  I, of course am a "rule follower" so I always had the requirements fulfilled.

One of our major requirements that year was to have Early Finisher Activities. I chose to put up a BOGGLE board. I'm sure you've seen them on pinterest.  The students absolutely LOVED it. They loved competing and finding words worth 5pts.  I gave out prizes (usually a pencil, eraser or a peppermint) immediately for students who found 5pt. words.  

Today I am sharing a cute, winter themed game called SNOGGLE!  

Do you have Fast Finisher Activities in your classroom?  
How do you provide differentiation?
If you enjoyed this post and you like freebies,
my Facebook page is a great way to find me!

This Little Piggy only has 3 more days until Winter Break!

Head over to Curious Firsties to check out my guest blog post about asking and answering questions.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five for Friday, First Annual Cookie Swap, and Book Talk Thursday

Happy Friday! Can you believe that Thanksgiving was over a week ago?! Where did this week go? I've been busy, busy, busy at work and home and wanted to share some of my fun adventures for the week with you. I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday event. You'll also find links to a fun cookie recipe linky and a winter storybook linky! So much fun in 1 little post =D

The wonderful Emily, from  The Reading Tutor/OG, is hosting a sweet cookie recipe linky. These are truly the most delicious sugar cookies I've ever eaten. When I discovered this recipe 2 years ago I made a batch for my family; in less than 24 hours they had consumed over 3 dozen cookies! They are so moist and chewy. I make them every year for our family Christmas get-togethers and I take them in as special treats for my students. My younger sister, niece and nephew love decorating these every year. Its such a fun family activity! These cookies are so good you might look like this after eating them all...

You gotta love nephews! 

The amazing Andrea, of Reading Toward the Stars, is hosting a Book Talk Thursday for winter themed books! Check out some fun reviews and link up too! 

Are you sick of the same ol Night Before Christmas story? Have your students heard it a million time? Why not give this fun book, A Pirate's Night Before Christmas, a try? I just LOVE this book! I stumbled upon it while I was in college and just knew that it would be the perfect addition to my future classroom's library! 

It's a fun and fresh Christmas story full of pirates who dream of treasure chest, a peg-legged and hook armed Santa,  named Sir Peggedy, and a sleigh pulled by eight giant seahorses: Salty, Scurvy, Sinbad, Mollie, Cutthroat, Cross-Eyes, Roger, and Jolly. 

I know your students will LOVE this story and so will you!

You can check out more books on the linky party by clicking the image below.

My first graders are just too cute! We've been working on CVC words as a whole group. After completing our group activity we break up into centers and I'm able to work one-on-one with my littlest babies; They are loving this week's rotations. 

My firsties normally fight over who get to use the iPad mini first but this week they are all fighting over who gets to play the "sock game" first. They absolutely love sorting their short a cvc words and they have made such great progress learning these new words! I couldn't be more proud of them. 

You can find Short A Stocking Word Sort here or on the image below. 

Our second center was working on blends and vowels using the iPad mini. I honestly can't believe how careful my little ones are with the iPad! They act like it's the most precious treasure in the world. I can just put them on it, walk away and know that they are learning, without having to worry about them breaking it. 

For our third center we are still practicing  decoding skills. The students have been using these cards once a week for about a month now and still love them. I haven't had anyone complete the entire activity in one sitting yet and some are still struggling with writing the correct letter to match the sound. 

My 3rd graders have been working very hard on learning about how, when, and why to ask and answer questions while reading. Using the article "Don't Miss The Supermoon" by Lakeshore, we worked on asking questions before, during, and after reading. I taught them how to ask questions that are relevant to the text they are reading or about to read. They then wrote all the questions they had in the interactive notebooks. Before we read our questions I had each student select one of their questions to write on a sticky note and place on our "What Are My Questions?" anchor chart. After they all had their questions up I read them to the class. Amazingly enough no one had the same question posted.

Next, I read the first paragraph aloud to them. After reading I modeled how to ask a question during reading and had them create their own questions based on what we just read. We repeated the process of placing a question on a sticky note and then on the anchor chart. I then had the students read the article independently, stopping to write down any questions they had during reading. I allowed each student to pick one additional questions to place on the "during reading" section of the chart. We read the questions and discussed if we had the required information available to answer each question. I had the students locate answers in the text or tell me when they would be able to find an answer if it wasn't in the text. 

Finally, we talked about what it means to ask questions after reading: what do you still want to know, what don't you understand, etc. and they recorded as many questions as they had in the interactive notebooks. Again, I allowed them to place a question on the chart. 

I just loved our chart so much that I decided to use it as this months hallway bulletin board display! The students don't know that it's on the board yet but I know they will be super excited when they come in Monday and see their work displayed for all to see! I copied a few pages from student's notebooks and displayed these on the board as well. On Monday, we will work on answering all the questions that we had and I will have the students write answer to display on the board. 

Last but not least, have you started the December Facebook Frenzy Hop yet? 

If not, don't wait until the last minute! This month their are 13 different hops happening! You can click the image above to go to the hop map to begin downloading all of this month's wonderful freebies! I'm participating in the 1st grade ELA/SS group. 

Well, that's all for now! I hope you all had a wonderful week and enjoy your weekend off! Don't forget to check out Educents this weekend either. They currently have 54 deals available with a number of them being free items! They offer great deals on a wide variety of educational products.