Monday, October 29, 2012

Guided Reading and a Little Red Ribbon Week

I hope everyone is surviving Sandy!  It's crazy...what a massive storm!  I'm in central Ohio and it's been raining since yesterday.  The winds just picked up like crazy about half an hour ago.  Looks like they're currently gusting to around 40 mph.  They're supposed to be over 70, so I'm trying to hurry and get in a blog post before the power goes out!

I am warning you now:  LOTS OF PICS!

Last week we had Red Ribbon Week.  The theme was "Say Boo to Drugs" and we had a door decorating contest.  The high school students came over and judged them and our door won!  Woohoo!  We get a pizza party with the high school Teen Institute on Friday.  The kids are SUPER excited.  Here's a peek at our snazzy door...

The kiddos made pumpkin fold-overs and decorated the outside.

Then they wrote a sentence inside about why drugs are scary.  I took their picture using PhotoBooth and used one of the funky distortion options, which they picked.

Next topic of conversation (sorry I don't have a good segue into this portion)...guided reading!  It was something I struggled to get off the ground my first couple of years teaching.  I tried to follow how  the book wanted me to do it.  Bad idea.  It was horrible.  Can we say cookie-cutter machine?!?!  I felt like a robot with what they wanted me to do.  Yuck.

After attending a couple SDE conferences and doing some research, I came up with the best option for the moment.  And I say moment because I'm always changing things, so next year it'll probably look a little different.  :P

So how do I start?  Well, I collect a lot of data at the beginning of the year to decide what groups to put them in.  A lot.  I mean, TONS.  Then I come up with a list.  I typically have one below-level group, 2 on-level groups (split into a lower end and higher end), and an advanced group.  I work with one group for 30 minutes a day.  If you have to meet with every group everyday, God bless you.  I don't know how you do it.  I can barely squeeze in 30 minutes for one group!  But yet I WISH I had time to meet with each group each day.  But let's face reality, it's not realistic.  I do the best I can...

I put the names up on the board in a flip chart I made.  All I have to do is open it up and flip to the page with the group I need for the day.

All they bring is a pencil and I provide the rest.  Here's a look at what my plans look like.  I have a plan for below-level, on-level, and advanced for each story each week.  I keep them all in a binder with Unit tabs.  I just grab my binder, caddy, and books and I'm ready to go!  Part of the plans go with the leveled readers we have for Reading Street, but I added in a bit of my own stuff.

To get started, we review our high-frequency words.  I put them on my iPad with an app called "Flashcards +."  I put the words on a card and then a sentence on the back.  We practice reading, spelling, and recognizing the sight words for the week.  I also have an old wipes container with all the words in it.  I'm using these right now since I haven't had time to add some of the words to the app yet...

Then we move on to our "hunks and chunks" for the week.  It's just whatever phonics skill we're learning...short a, long o, sh, -ing, whatever...I created a huge, long project that drove me crazy last year.  I printed all sorts of words that follow the phonics skill onto a label and then put the label onto an index card.  Front and back.  Hundreds.  I think I bought around 15 packs of index cards.  Uggg.  What a nightmare.  THEN...I laminated all of them!  Eeek!  BUT, it was worth it.  Because now I have them ready for the YEAR.  We practice recognizing the hunks and chunks and reading them.  Sometimes we figure them out together, other times we raise our hand to read one when we know it, sometimes I call on random students, and sometimes we have little contests.  The kids love reading through them.  It's the little things!  ;)

Next, we move onto our story!  We talk about our reading skills and strategies.  Then I pass out the books and have them do a picture walk.  I let them predict what the story will be about and what will happen based on the pictures that they see.

Then we read!  Sometimes we read it chorally, other times we whisper read, and sometimes we read it with a partner.  Some days we even read it silently to ourselves!  I picked up these cute swizzle sticks from Hobby Lobby to use as pointers.  The kids LOVE. THEM.  They are MAGICAL to them!  I have simple ones with glitter and ones that are a little more chunky.  They pick out a stick and use it to track the print as we read.

After we read, I pass out our fiction dice or they draw a non-fiction stick.  They roll the fiction dice and answer the question.

All I did for the non-fiction sticks was take oversized popsicle sticks and write some questions on them.

We wrap up everything by working on a little worksheet that comes with our leveled readers.

And that's it!  Simple, huh?  ;)

The wind is I go!

Ok, I can't's my little guy dressed up for Halloween!


  1. Would you ever consider sharing an editable version of your guided lesson plan format? We use Reading Street also and I have been looking for a friendly version of a guided reading groups plan! Thanks!

  2. I don't use Reading Street, but would love an editable version of your guided lesson plan format. This would work great for any reading series!

    Swinging Through Second Grade

  3. Hey ladies! I am looking into how to make an editable version of my plans. :) I will post when I get it figured out and done! And you're right...this could EASILY be adapted for any reading series!

  4. I was coming to ask the same question as the ladies above. You are so organized!

  5. I love your format... did you ever creat an editable version?

  6. Keeping organized for Guided Reading/Skills Groups is like trying to keep organized through a wind storm. Your pictures and GR format, which I just purchased from your TpT store, will bring the calm I desperately need to my organization!