Monday, February 17, 2014

Guided Reading Time and an Easy Way to Tackle Sentence Structure

We're already on a 2-hour delay tomorrow.  The roads are a complete sheet of ice here in central Ohio.  I mean, really...will this winter ever end?  Oh yeah...Thursday...a high of 50 with a chance of severe weather and tornadoes.  Basically, I should have my Excedrin handy and practice tornado drills.  *Sigh*

Last week I was FINALLY able to meet with my guided reading groups!  And I loved it.  Every second.  It helps so much to break them up according to their level and according to their needs.  There is such value and necessity in guided reading.  You can slow down, speed up, break it down, make them think...

I meet with 5 or 6 different groups throughout the week.  Each group has anywhere from 2-4 students.  I pull books either from our reading series (leveled readers, for those who use Reading Street or another basal that has leveled readers) OR I pull books from our leveled book library in our resource room.  We have two bins with books from F&P - one is fiction, the other nonfiction.

I also do some word reading with our phonics pattern for the week.  Depending on the group, we do anything from practicing decoding them together to rapid word reading.  With my higher kids, we'll flip through them really fast or I'll give a student several cards and have them quickly read through their stack.

We also use some type of graphic organizer to get used to responding to text.  This particular one is from 2nd Grade Stuff, which you can find here.

As I was looking at their writing, I noticed I HAD to address their sentence structure.  So I whipped out my highlighters on a whim...

We went through and talked about how every sentence has to have 2 major parts: who/what it's about, and what happened.  In more formal terms, we talked about subjects and predicates.  I had them highlight the subject in orange and the predicate in yellow.

Then we went back through and fixed our sentences.  It helped them realize if they were missing one or the other!  And surprisingly, if they were missing a part they easily figured out how to fix it and what to write!

What do the rest of my kids do during guided reading?  The Storia app on the iPads...

Read with Someone...

Word Work...

Ok, I *HAVE* to share a special moment that my student teacher had when doing a Scholastic News article on segregation...

See the students standing around her at the rocking chair?  She called them up and told them they weren't allowed to go to our Valentine's Day party.  I wish I could show you the face of the little girl standing closest to her.  She started CRYING.  It was the saddest, sweetest, most genuine cry.  I about cried!  The others were devastated.  She told them the reason the ones sitting on the carpet got to go was because they had blonde hair.  Talk about striking a chord and getting them to understand!  It was one of the most powerful moments I've ever seen.  They got it.  It was amazing.  And boy were they relieved when they were told they were still allowed to go to our party.  ;)

Speaking of parties...I don't know about you, but as a teacher Valentine's Day parties are the worst!  So much sugar, so much excitement, so much chaos.  I truly believe they're worse than Christmas parties.  ;)  But they sure do get creative!

And every party has to end with a little "Just Dance."  ;)

Have a good week my friends!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Craziest Winter EVER!

This is getting silly.  Between all the 1-hour delays, 2-hour delays, and cancellations, this has been the wildest winter I've ever experienced!  And it's snowing right now.  Again.  *Sigh*  Where oh where is spring?  We've only been in school for 6 complete days since before Christmas break.  Six.  It was nice at first, but now we're all panicking about how much learning we're missing out on!  How about you?  Has your school closed or delayed a lot this year?

First of all, I know I'm way late on this, but I'm linking up with Farley for the monthly Currently!  :)

Why does laundry and cleaning a house never end?  Gracious.

And if you're wondering which one is the's number 2.  :)  I HATE pineapple.  I'm probably the only person on earth, but I just don't like it.  It has a very strange taste to me.  I prefer blueberries, raspberries, Honeycrisp apples, and oranges. 

So what does one do when the weekly schedule is entirely interrupted by snow days and cold days?  Survive.  That's what one does.  I have a student teacher right now and I feel so bad for her because it's taking FOREVER for her to learn the routine and schedule.  Half the time I forget what it's supposed to be!  She's done a fabulous job, though, and has done some great lessons.  Her very first lesson was an art lesson where the kiddos made penguins with all sorts of crafty things.  They loved it and they turned out ADORABLE!

How many times can one redo a Word Wall?  Many, many times.  I used to have it up at the top of the wall, close to the ceiling.  I liked to have bulletin board space for other things.  But I'm just too short and hated getting out the ladder to add words to it.  So I moved it down to a bulletin board.  It actually works much better!

We recently had our 1st grade Reading Super Bowl!  The students were to read as many books as possible each night (with a limit of 12) and turn in a slip stating how many they read with a parent signature.  The students were divided into teams (the Broncos and Seahawks).  Each day we would tally their books.  The team with the most books read scored a touchdown (6 points).  This was done daily, Monday-Friday.  No late slips were allowed, as each day we tallied the books and put up points.  When we came back Monday, the winners were announced and the whole first grade went to the cafeteria for a Milk and Brownies party.  The losing team had to serve the winning team their milk and brownies and then were able to get their own.  So really, everyone won, but it was a fun lesson on manners and serving others first!  Just a small little reward for the winners.  :)  But the kids LOVED it and LOVED seeing how many books the first graders read in a week!

The last little thing I'm going to share tonight is a fun idea my student teacher did with the kids that correlated with our Weekly Reader.  The issue was about penguins and it taught the students about the heights of different penguins.  She took some butcher paper and had groups design their penguin according to the different types.  The important thing was that she cut the paper so that it was the same height as the penguins that they studied.  When she explained that the actual penguins were the size of their paper ones, they were AMAZED!  It was a great visual.

Have a great Sunday everyone!  My day will be filled with church, lesson planning, cleaning, and our small group!  I'm HOPING for a completely normal week next week!  We'll see!