Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trading Spaces Tuesday

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to Trading Spaces Tuesday at Thinking Out Loud!

It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars here to talk a little bit about different ways to use nursery rhymes.  Thank you so much Jana for letting me talk literacy on your blog! 

As a reading specialist, I love using nursery rhymes with my students to help them with many different aspects of reading.  I especially use them with kindergarten since they already are familiar with many of them.  I actually spend an entire week with one nursery rhyme to work on many different aspects of literacy.  Here is a look into my week with one nursery rhyme or poem.

On Monday we spend some time reciting and "reading" the rhyme together.  I track the rhyme with them to model, and by mid-year, some of the students are ready to track the print on the first day.  At the beginning of the year, I put stickers underneath the words to help them with the one-to-one correspondence. Here is what that looks like.

As the week progresses, I take off a line of stickers at a time.  Eventually, the students do not need the stickers at all!  That is the ultimate goal!

We also spend part of a session reading the poem again and listening for rhyming words.  We locate the words and think of new words to rhyme with the various words in the poem.  Sometimes this is a struggle, so I will give them a list of words to choose the rhyming words.  For example, from the poem above, I would say "What rhymes with bear?"  Hopefully, they will say something like hair or chair, but if they don't I give them three choices:  dog, hair, ground.  Usually they give me a correct answer.  Then we play rhyming games and do other rhyming activities.

Their favorite activity is matching the words to the poems.  Each day we review a list of words for the poems through flash card or a typed list on paper.  One of their favorite activities is finding the word in the poem.  I mix it up a little and show them a word in the poem, and they have to find the word card.  This becomes a crazy game, but it is always fun!   The kids love to "beat the teacher."

By the middle of the year, we are ready to really hone in on the sight words in context.  In my list of words, I always include many sight words from the poem.  They love to find the sight words, many times not even using the word cards to find them.  This too becomes a game.  I give them the poem on paper and call out a sight word.  They use a crayon to circle the sight words in the poem.  I then incorporate a sight word book or activity to complete.  I love the sight word books from Hubbard's Cupboard because they are FREE and easy to make!
Kindergarteners LOVE highlighters too!

And who can forget letter identification and sounds.  Even at the end of the year, some students still struggle with them.  I give the students a letter or letter sound to search for, and they find a word with that particular letter or letter sound, focusing on the letters they know or are currently learning.  Then I have them think of another word that begins with that same letter or letter sound.  If they cannot think of a word that begins with the given letter, I offer them three choices, and they have to choose the correct word.  Many times I use my picture clues to help them think of the words and hear the sounds.

There are so many great nursery rhymes to use.  Books are abundant!  I use this wonderful website to get many of my nursery rhymes for my students, PreKinders.  There are some great free printables of nursery rhymes for the kids.  The print is large enough, and the pictures are crisp.  I love letting the kids color the pictures to send home in a book at the end of the year.  This way each kid has a book of rhymes that he or she CAN read.

Even older students can benefit from nursery rhymes.  Students can sequence the rhyme or compare and contrast two nursery rhymes.  They are also fun to use when teaching cause and effect:  Jack fell down {cause} and broke his crown {effect}.  Character analysis is also fun with nursery rhymes. Since they know about the characters already, it is easy to spot those character traits and explain why.  Fun, fun!

And, if you haven't been to my blog yet, Em from Curious Firsties has a fun activity to do with nursery rhymes too!  Click {here} to head to that post.

Hopefully this has helped you find new uses for nursery rhymes.  What new ideas do you have for using them?

Thank you, Jana, for having me spend some time at your blog today!  I had a lot of fun sharing my ideas for using nursery rhymes. 

Now head on over to Hanging Out in First to see Jana's literacy post!

And if you want to see who else is participating, you can click on the links below to get many more literacy ideas!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Deck the Halls with TpT

Ready for a great sale?  I am!!!!  Cyber Monday Sale is coming up on Teachers Pay Teachers.  There are some great things in my wishlist that I can't wait to purchase.  Stock up your cart and use the code CYBER when you check out on Monday.


Today I am going to share some things that I will have for sale and some things that are in wishlist that I will purchase during the sale.  Then I am linking up with Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge for Deck the Halls with TpT Linky where some of my bloggy friends are sharing what they are putting on sale.


I am going to play three songs for you today:  I Saw Mommy with Science and Social Studies Resources, Walking in a Math Wonderland, and It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Reading.  To check out each resource, click on the picture.




I hope you are able to find everything you need to begin the new year and make your lesson planning easier.  I love the wide variety of ready-to-go activities that compliment the lesson plans I write.  Those activities equal more time I can spend with my new baby girl, my husband, and reading (my three favorite things in the whole world).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gift of Reading - Sight Words

As teachers we gift our students with the ability to read by teaching them to be fluent and giving them the comprehension strategies they need in order to understand.  Fluent readers are able to comprehend the text better than non-fluent readers because they are not using most of their brain to decode each word they are reading.  There is more brain power available to put the comprehension skills to use.  Non-fluent readers spend so much time decoding words that they lose the meaning of the text.

One way to help students become more fluent readers is to teach them sight words (words students are able to read without having to sound them out).  Dolch sight words make up 50-75% of the words students read when they are younger.  If they know that many words on a page, they are more likely to want to read the page because they are more confident.

How many sight words do you see in this excerpt from Charlotte's Web?
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
     If a student spent of his or her time decoding the majority of the words, they would 
     completely miss the meaning of the words and couldn't begin to start employing their 
     reading strategies, like predicting what the ax was going to be used to do.

Another reason to teach sight words is that some of the words are not able to be sounded out or figured out using a picture.  How do you sound out "where" when it should rhyme with were instead of air?  What would a picture of "if" or "soon" look like?

So we know sight words are important.  Now what?  Here are some ideas on how to teach and practice sight words.
  • Read aloud patterned books that contain many sight words like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See.  Seeing the words in an authentic environment is important for students.  Once students are comfortable with the pattern, have them create a class book that follows the same pattern.  Read their book creation many times together and place it in the classroom library.  Believe me, it will be a favorite for them during library center.
  • Games are a great way to help students practice their sight words.  Once students have learned sight words in an authentic text, they need a chance to devote them to long term memory.  Games were they have to quickly recognize sight words can help them.  
    • For the duration of the blog hop, I am offering my Build a Snowman Sight Word game free to all blog hop participants.  Just click the picture below.    Now that the blog hop is over, the game has returned to a priced item.  The game includes all of the sight words from the Dolch lists.  There are two ways to play - students compete to find all the pieces of a snowman before the other players OR students compete to build the most snowmen.  The only way to get a snowman part is to be able to read the word on the card.
    • To those who visit after the blog hop, I have the 2nd Grade Dolch List Build a Snowman Game as a forever freebie.


I love to pin, so I keep track of different games and activities that I want to try with my students.  Check out my pin board on sight words by clicking the picture.

I hope you were able to find at least one idea that will help your students on the way to becoming fluent readers by teaching sight words. 

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoyed your gift and learned something new. If you would like to be the first to know about new posts, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

TEAMWORK Isn't My Thing and I Don't Like to SHARE!

Laura Candler sponsored a great linky, Cooking Up a Caring Classroom, with the help of some great bloggers.  We are sharing the wonderful books written by Julia Cook.  Check them all out by clicking the picture below.


Julia has so many fabulous books that help teachers set up a wonderful, caring classroom environment that is was hard to pick one.  I decided on TEAMWORK Isn't My Thing, and I Don't Like to SHARE! because I am beginning to work with a new group of kiddos.  I love for my students to work in groups, and I wanted a way to introduce the concept and begin building a team spirit within those groups.  This book was perfect!


Synopsis:  RJ has to work in a group to complete a report on Egyptian mummies and gets frustrated when the group doesn't work well together.  Then he goes home and has to share the last cookie with his sister.  He has had a BAD day, so he talks to his soccer coach who helps realized that working as a team and sharing are needed in everyday life as well as on the soccer field.

As I was reading Laura Candler's introductory post to the linky this really stuck with me:  "The new standards require students to become actively engaged in their learning, often working with others to accomplish a task. If we don’t take time to teach kids to work together effectively, those lessons will be wasted and academic progress will suffer."  So TRUE!!  The time has passed for teacher-centered learning where students sit idly by listening.  It is time to get them engaged.  Learning is a social process that many times includes working effectively with a team to learn and process new information.  Julia Cook's TEAMWORK book helps make this apparent to students through RJ's story.

Classroom Ideas:
I used this book as a read aloud to introduce why working together and sharing is so important.  Since we use read alouds to teach vocabulary, I did with this book also.  Click on the picture below for my vocabulary lesson plan.


Once we discussed the book, I placed students into teams and completed the following activities from the companion book - Teamwork Activity Book.
      • What's in a Name - students have the opportunity to work as a team to create a unique, united identity
      • Masking Tape Race - game with a purpose - team success is built by choosing and listening to a leader in order to "stick" together
        • We debriefed after this to talk about how well each group worked as a team, why it was important (making references back to the book), and how this will help them academically.
      • Team Acronym - already created a team name, now students worked together to build an acronym from that name
      • To Share or Not to Share...That is the Question - help students know when it is appropriate to share through discuss of scenarios
This book was just the start of how I am building a community with my students.  I will use more Julia's books to continue building our community.

Make sure to check out the rest of the books:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sleuth Blog Hop Stop #13

Vocabulary in Context

Thank for following our blog hop!  I am hope you are enjoying the information and resources.  If you need to begin at the beginning, please visit Comprehension Connection to get your blog hop guide, which will have a place to gather your clues for the great giveaway happening at the last stop.

One of my passions is teaching vocabulary.  I love it because it helps the students build background knowledge and learning new words is fun.  Students do not learn new vocabulary words by looking up the definitions and copying them into their notebook.  However, they do learn them by reading, reading, and more reading.  I just don't mean independent reading either.  A read aloud provides the perfect opportunity to increase your students' word knowledge of tier two words.  You have the opportunity to teach them new words found in the book you just read and engage them in those words before you move on to the next subject.

To celebrate my passion, I am giving you a free vocabulary lesson for Piggins by Jane Yolen.  Who doesn't love a book with animal characters and mystery?  Can your students solve the mystery of the stolen necklace before Piggins?

To help your students track who they think the thief is and clues that helped them figure it out, I made this freebie also:

 Now that you've learned a little about teaching vocabulary in context using a mystery book, you're ready for my clue.  On your form, you can record the letter...

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope you'll enjoy using my activity with your students.  If you'd like to keep informed of upcoming events from our group, please click the Bloglovin button below to follow my blog.  

I appreciate your interest in reading instruction and wish you a wonderful school year. Now, on to the...


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