Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Non-Fiction and Fiction Fun!

This past week we really hit fiction and nonfiction text hard.  We have learned about the difference between the two for most of the year, but we really needed to dig a little deeper.  I introduced the week with two texts on the same topic but obviously lots of differences.  I chose to use a snow nonfiction book and the award winning picture book SNOW.  The kids really enjoyed the read-alouds and coming up with some big difference between to two. 

The following day I wanted have the kids complete a book sort together at the carpet using an ActivInspire Flipchart I created.  We reviewed what we remembered about the difference between fiction and nonfiction and then practiced sorting books as a whole group using the flipchart. 

 The kids did great and were ready to try on their own.  I had them complete the same activity with their book orders.  The kids loved this because they love book orders, it actually meant something to them (not a worksheet), and they got the choice of what books they wanted to use.  It was a hit and a great way for be to check of learning target mastery. 

For day three I really wanted them to do some cooperative group work, so I set them off on a nonfiction scavenger hunt using a variety of bog books I had.  I can not take credit for this cute scavenger hunt page.  I snagged it from wholewheatclass.blogspot.com.  

We finished out our week on fiction and nonfiction with book discussions over of independent reading selections and talking about what made them nonfiction and fiction.  I created a write about it assessment to use as a learning target check for their binders.  You can grab yours in the document download below.  If you would like the flip chart I created please email me at blackmonl@jr7.k12.mo.us. 


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Retell Boxes, Technology, and a FREEBIE!

Things have been a bit crazy between my master’s classes, holiday festivities, and trying to keep you with being a great mom and wife.  One of my final projects in my comprehension class was to take an activity from our text and use it within my thematic unit.  I chose to use retell boxes because that is one of our learning targets for the week.  It went over really well and we even got to add a little technology into the mix. 
       I introduced the lesson with the book Trouble With Money.  This fit perfect with our community theme for the week: Consumers, Producers, Needs and Wants.  The kids had to focus on the 4 key components of a good retell: who, where, what happened, how it ends.  We completed an oversized organizer on an anchor chart as a whole group and I had my students come up and complete the sketches to match our thoughts.  It went pretty good and we were ready to start adding it into our readers within our guided groups. 

After our whole group lesson my guided groups practiced this skill with their readers for the week.  My highest readers were ready to advance so we used the Book Creator App to make retell books using books from RAZ kids that were on their level.  My kids loved this!  The others that weren’t quite ready practiced with their organizers and will hopefully be ready to produce their retell book later this week. 

Our main focus was drawing the pictures as a guide for our verbal retell. 

Click the book below to view my first groups Book Creator Retell.

I am going to be doing 12 days of Christmas giveaway for the month of December and my first one is available below.  Just click the picture to take you to the Google doc.  This is a Christmas theme activity that focuses on these tricky buddy vowels.  Have kids read the word on the ornaments and decorate their trees.

Happy Teaching....Christmas break will be here before you know it!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reciprocal Teaching, Turkeys, and a Break!!

Our week has been a crazy one, but I wouldn't change it for the world! I have loved watching these kiddos take hold of their learning in pretty amazing ways....I mean they are 6 and 7 year olds for crying out loud and what they are doing amazes me. Since going back to school to obtain my Masters in Reading and Specialist degree I have learned so much about my style of teaching and ways to improve it.  We have been learning a lot about reciprocal teaching and the benefits it has for strengthening their comprehension. I decided to introduce the "FAB 5" to my kiddos in whole group in hopes that soon they will be ready to do this in small groups and independently.    
The FAB 5 for reading comprehension are:
-Schema (which we hit hard every year)
- Summarize 

We decided to use these with our turkey research for the week.  We have been focusing on non-fiction writing and this was perfect for gathering info on turkeys.  This is the anchor we created using a RAZ Kids reader Wild Turkeys.  My kids were able to use schema, predict their learning, ask questions they still had, clarify the word social, and even come up with a main idea all in a 15-20 minute mini lesson.  I was amazed at what they were capable of!

We first read the story and completed the anchor. I than had my kids read the story over wild turkeys in small groups of three.  They were asked to come up with a can, have, are fact on an index card.  This was great for making sure each member of the group had a part in the research.  We added their facts to the chart below.  

They created these cute turkeys to go with their reports.  They made an extra cute display in the hall and the level of learning was pretty impressive! 

Their last fact isn't a have fact, but I love that they referred to the wattle as the "red thing". 

I can't wait to share some fun things I have in the works for next week.  I will be sharing about graffiti walls and how to use them in your small groups.  Check back soon! 

Don't forget to download my cute Turkey Trouble Nonsense Words center for free here

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Friday Favorites - Book Feature & Freebie

Can I just say I may have stumbled across my new favorite read-aloud.  This has become one of my top favorites for many reasons.  We have just finished up our unit over animal and plant adaptations and in this unit we cover verbs, compare and contrast, hibernation, and introduce making predictions.  Well, this book has it ALL! I actually went into our school library looking for a Mo Willems book and came across this by accident.  I had no idea that he even wrote this book!

This is a cute story about a City Dog and a Country Frog.  It goes through the seasons and as the seasons pass the two become great friends, teaching each other new tricks from their different home lives.  The book is great for predicting at various points in the story.  For example, when winter comes Dog can't find Frog anymore.  The kids all used their schema here to predict that frog was hibernating and would return in the spring.  Then spring comes and Dog doesn't find Frog, but instead a chipmunk.  The best part in the last page where you think that the Dog finally finds Frog, but he doesn't.  You actually never find out what happened to Frog.  My kids were so upset about this that they decided to write the author for a second book involving what really happened to the frog.  Throughout the read-aloud I hit compare and contrast over the two characters, verbs, predicting, and even hit hibernation all in a 15 minute mini-lesson!!!

Click the book cover below for a link to a few freebies to use with this 

You could even visit Mo Willems website for more activities and ideas. 

Happy teaching & enjoy your weekend! 


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Crazy Busy Life That I Love

I can’t believe I have let weeks go by since my last post.  I have been so busy with the start of a new school year.  I started my masters program, got a new group of kiddos, purchased a house and will be moving next week, and we think we want to add to our amazing family. I know I am nuts!  Here is a quick glance at some of my favorites from the past two weeks.

This summer I rewrote all of our ELA curriculum to fit the new Missouri Learning Standards and I decided to create units that would also hit all the science and social studies standards as well. Our first 5 weeks of school consist of character education along with a focus on key reading skills.  When we were focused on friendship week one we read The Rainbow Fish and the focused on characters, setting and retell.  Here are some of the lesson ideas along with a cute friendship fish.

We read a lot of different picture books and added actual pictures from the text to our anchor chart so the kids made a real connection to the standard being addressed.

A new book I discovered this year that was just too good to pass up was Elmer.  It is about an elephant that is different from all the other elephants because of all his colors and funny humor.  It is a great book to teach the vocabulary word unique and how everyone has something that makes them special.  The kids shared what made them special and painted their own “Unique” elephants. 

We brushed up on some sight word review from kindergarten with a little game of BINGO.  The kids love BINGO especially if they get to eat the markers afterwards.

The activity that I really liked was our morning meeting warm-up.  We have been practicing our rhyming and word families, so I decided to do a quick check activity that involved buddies, movement, and laughter.  The kids were given rhyming words on index cards.  I taped them to their head so they didn’t know their word.  They had to circle around the room and ask friends to read their word and look for their rhyming buddy match.  When they locked arms they came to the carpet and we checked them off together as a whole group and created an anchor chart with the words.  LOVED THIS ACTIVITY for so many reasons.  It took 10 minutes, I had the kids reading, moving, and practicing a skill. 

I am going to be posting some freebies tomorrow night so please check back.  I am created my A+ tutoring binder and I have some easy intervention activities that I will be sharing.