Thursday, October 19, 2017

Differentiated Literacy Centers in First Grade

Our first grade team has a schedule that devotes 120 minutes daily to universal ELA instruction.  In addition, there is a flexible 20 minutes daily of Words Their Way and beyond that, we have a 30 minute block of WIN time for our MLSS (Multi-level systems of support) structure for Response to Intervention.

Many of our students demonstrated a need for additional phonological awareness instruction this year. Here is our plan:

Mondays and Fridays universal instruction is facilitated whole group.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, students have a 20 minute universal mini-lesson activity and then teachers move into differentiated focus groups.

The difficulty we had was following "fair isn't the same for everyone."  We really needed to think about how we could differentiate instruction to target student needs.  Here's what we came up with:

To differentiate groups, we started with what our below benchmark groups needed, and focused on two days of direct instruction out of three where our stronger readers receive one day each week in a teacher focus group.

Many of our students are struggling with phonological awareness along with blending and segmenting.  Materials/methods we use include Sound Partners, Leveled Literacy Intervention and Guided Reading depending on student needs.  Guided reading lessons occur with our leveled texts and/or pattern controlled stories.  Our goal is to provide as much targeted boosting of foundational skills as possible.

I made a rotation power point for everyone so they only had to plug in names.  This gives our kids a visual of what their focus area is each day. Each puzzle piece matches with the rotation assigned.  The individual puzzle pieces are editable to put students names on.
Blue = Group 1
Yellow = Group 2
Pink = Group 3
Orange = Group 4

You can  see that some of our groups receive more word study and teacher focus lessons where others are working independently more.

It is our job to make sure every student grows; our teachers are all-in and excited about their targeted focus groups.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Teaching Types of Conflict in Stories

I needed a quick review and reference sheets for a group of kiddos at school.  They were having a hard time pinpointing what to look for when identifying types of conflict, so I whipped-up an interactive notebook that tells kids types of conflicts and WHAT to notice during reading.   Teaching Rule: If how you are teaching isn't working, find a new way to teach the concept.

  I am super excited about this interactive notebook activity!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Point of View in a Story & of a Character ~ Middle and High School Focus

I have been working on our High School Reading Essentials 2 class and one of the focus areas digs deeper into fictional text.  The first book that we are reading is a brand new collection of stories titled, Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh. (Lexile is around 800 for this collection.) What I really like about this book is the rich language and gritty stories that aren't sugar coated and present a cultural context that many of our students may not be exposed to.  These short stories are written by some of the finest authors I have read.

We are going to start reading the very last story in this book first:  Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push by Walter Dean Meyers.

Our first week's focus is on Point of View, not only by the narrator but OF the characters as well.  We will be discussing first person, second person and third person point of view.  The rich discussion as we proceed through this book will be about the point of view of each character and WHY the characters feel the way they do.  I can't wait to see what students think of this book!

Below are the posters that we will be using to guide dialogue.

Our students are required to submit two think marks each week.  We will build on selections as we go.  The think marks this quarter will focus on digging deeper into literary devices.

We always pull in connecting with the text and citing evidence.  "ICE" your writing is my favorite reminder.

Really nice 9 minute review:

If you are interested in purchasing the posters, click the link below.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Reading Strategies Book: Goal 5~ Supporting Comprehension in Fiction with Plot and Setting

My turn is up to discuss The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo focusing on Goal 5 which is supporting comprehension in fiction with plot and setting.

 I really enjoyed reading these strategies outlined in Goal 5 because they range from the basic beginning-middle-end strategy to flashback on a timeline to the FQR graphic organizer and finally to analyzing by historical context.  As a K-12 reading specialist, I work with teachers implementing these focus strategies into universal and differentiated texts; I feel that this is one of the most useful resources I have found to enhance student comprehension.

The introduction on pages 130-132 focus on four main areas of mastery when understanding plot and setting.

First, the emphasis on visualization made me "woot!" out loud.  If a student cannot make a mental movie in their minds of what they are reading, the understanding and sequence of plot will not occur.

Second, the focus on problems and conflict was outlined as essential. Identify the problem.  Then you discuss characters and conflicts relating to the problem.  Finally focus on solutions/resolutions as formula for outlining plot.  I focus quite a bit on conflict when helping teachers with focus metacognitive strategies.

This leads us to the third area to support, synthesizing cause and effect.  Whenever focusing on problem and conflict, there is often cause and effect text structure.  Jennifer Serravallo stated to synthesize cause and effect, "so that the reader is clear on what causes certain events to take place, and how all of the events in a story take place." (page 131).  I have added the cause and effect anchor chart that we use when reading a universal text in grade 5, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

Finally, with focusing on problem/solution and then cause and effect text structure, we naturally lead into the fourth focus area, which  is retelling or summarizing.  Students need to state "essential" information without telling too much or leaving out important events while telling ideas in the proper sequence.  We often see teachers utilize the somebody-wanted-but-so-then strategy and this is fine.  I like to also ask the students, "Who... did what... and when?"  This also helps keep sequencing temporal.

My Big 3 strategies from this chapter are:
5.14:  Chapter-End Stop Signs:  This strategy utilizes sticky notes where students stop and jot the big idea from each chapter after reading.  When students have finished the book, a complete summary is written.  This reminds me of a "chapter check-up" form that I used MANY years ago when I was teaching Learning Disabilties IEP classes.  I really like the idea of incorporating think marks for fiction and nonfiction into this strategy.  It is clear, useful and structured enough that the gradual release of responsibility would be seamless for universal and guided reading focus groups.

5.24:  FQR (Facts/Questions/Response) Sheets for Filling in Gaps:  I am going to be sharing this strategy with our Middle School Reading Interventionist TOMORROW!  We are always looking for graphic organizers and systems to help students with metacognition and self-monitoring their breakdown in learning as well as questions and connections.  The FQR sheet incorporates ALL of these key areas. Students stop and jot a questions as you read.  Fill in the facts you already know.  Continue reading until you find your response or have a new question.  This graphic organizer or metacognitive strategy lends itself to comprehension discussions that will definitely deepen understanding of text.

F: What are the facts I know already?
Q:  What question(s) do I have about this section of reading?  What is my confusion?
Response:  Write the page number and evidence that answered my question.  What new questions do I now have?

5.27:  Analyzing Historical Contexts:  My first question when reading this strategy was, "Why didn't I think of this?"  My second thought was to start a list of books that we need to incorporate this strategy into this year and certainly into next year.  Our literacy program K-8 uses universal texts and literature circles/guided reading.  I can see this especially useful when studying Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool in grade 6, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis in grade 7 and Night  by Elie Weisel in Grade 8 (not fiction, but this strategy could easily apply to nonfiction as well).  The lesson language was so very powerful when I read on page 160, "When you read historical fiction, it's so important to really understand the historical environment...consider the social environment-think about the economic environment...what did being in different social classes mean?...Think about the politics of the time and who was in power,  beliefs...laws."  READ the entire lesson language.  I intend to highlight this and share ASAP.   The graphic organizer is very simple.  Students use sticky notes to write down when they encounter social, economic or political conditions as they read.   Sticky notes are placed on a group anchor chart allowing for rich discussion and dialogue.

Let me know your thoughts.  What was new to you?  What strategies do you already use that are effective with your students?  What do you want to try in the future?

Thanks for visiting Goal 5.  If you haven't had the chance, Goals 1-4 are linked below.  Hop on over to their blogs and leave a kind note or two.  These bloggers have worked hard for our literacy community. :)

Happy Reading!

Getting Started
Goal 1
Goal 2
Goal 3
Goal 4

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ray Bradbury ~ A Sound of Thunder

This week (week 8) our new High School Reading Essentials course is reading A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury and starting their third class novel, which is also a Science Fiction read, The Eye of Minds by James Dames Dashner.  Science Fiction is my favorite genre to read so I take extra glee in "geeking out" this week!

(Last week we read Thank You Ma'am by Langston Hughes.  The previous weeks were focused on each style of nonfiction text structure and corresponding writing.  The Sound of Thuder also does a very nice job of bringing back cause and effect text structure in a fictional context.)

I created elements of a science fiction posters for class.  Kids can put post-it notes up when they read an example of each element. (They are a little cute for High School, but I sometimes think High School could use a little color on the walls.)

The breakdown of this course is as follows:
30 minutes literature reading with thinking marks and discussion
15 minutes root or grammar study
40 minutes text structure and applied writing

Below are a few resources that I have used.  I made the science fiction posters.  Our word study is from Ladybug's Teacher file.  

I LOVE this introduction to Ray Bradbury.  We are going to stop and discuss his quotes because this short clip is FILLED with good advice.

Introducing Science Fiction as a Genre: This is EXCELLENT!

The video we are using to introduce The Sound of Thunder:  (This movie is over an hour long.  We are going to watch the older 30 minute version in class.  That said, this trailer is a great hook!)

We are going to use an anticipation guide at the beginning of the story and at the end of the story so that we have a purpose for reading.

Here are additional focus areas we will address as we read this short story:
(Anchor chart below)

 We will wrap up the week by visiting our cause and effect text structure and our anticipation guide to discuss if any of our ideas have changed.  There is a lot more planned including watching the movie, but this is an excellent start.

My text structure posters are directly pulled from the Wisconsin DPI document.  I took the information and made it "pretty."

Happy Science Fiction week!

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Reading Strategies Book Blog Hop

I am super excited to be part of The Reading Strategies Book and a blog hop starting TODAY!

 Every two days, one of our "hopping" bloggers will take the time to write about a chapter in the book, what we LOVE and how we are using this book in our classrooms.  

I am going to be reviewing Chapter 5.

You can {START HERE} today!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Panda Bear, Panda Bear ~ Rhythm, Rhyme & Sequence

When looking for emergent books that focus on auditory patterning necessary to develop phonological awareness, Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle books are simply the best!
I put this pocket chart activity together for my early intervention paraprofessional.  This activity directly focuses on the rhythm and rhyme of Panda Bear, Panda Bear and incorporates picture cards, number cards and word cards.
Day 1:  Read the book.
Day 2:  Display word cards in order down the left side of your chart.  Hand out picture cards.  As you read the book, have students put the pictures of each animal/person in the pocket chart in order next to each word card.
Day 3:  Read the book.  Display word cards in order down the left side of your chart.  Hand out picture and number cards to students.  As you read the book, have students put the picture and number cards next to the word cards.
Day 4:  Practice cross-checking the first letter of each word for the animal’s name.  Read book.
Differentiation:  Hand out word cards to your readers and have students place all  in order on your pocket chart.

The sky is truly the limit with this activity.  Bottom line:  Repetition of rhythm and rhyme is essential for our emerging readers.
Below are pictures of the sequence cards that we will use.  Kids are going to love this activity!

Happy joyful teaching and learning!