Sunday, April 13, 2014

Earth Day Fun!

Hi Friends! I’m just quickly stopping by to share the updates I’ve made to my Earth Day packet!
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To begin our unit, I’m going to place the “true” poster on one side of the classroom and the “false” poster on the other side of the classroom.
Then, on the document camera, I’m going to display these “Shocking Facts Photographs” for all to see. I’m going to read each sentence aloud and students are going to have to determine if they think the statement is true or false by moving to one side of the classroom. The nice thing about this activity is that you have the choice of printing the pictures or displaying them on your computer.
I think these posters and facts will help start some great discussions! 
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Then, we’ll be watching this great BrainPop on The 3 R’s!
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And listen to Jack Johnson sing about reducing, reusing, and recycling!
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We’ll also be reading this original story all about the litter monster! The story teaches students about the importance of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
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After reading the story, we’re going to complete this organizer and brainstorm ways on how to NOT be a litter monster AND we’re going to write a letter to him explaining the importance of caring for the Earth! We’re also going to be making our own litter monsters out of reusable materials. My kids last year LOVED creating their own litter monsters!
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We’re also going to read these mini-books about The Three R’s. I know my kiddos will LOVE illustrating the pictures of this book. Their illustrations will act as a great assessment tool too.
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As we read stories about the Earth, we’ll be referring to these vocabulary cards too. The Earth Day Words organizer will help them develop a better understanding of what each of these words mean.
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We’ll be using some of these other organizers and activities as well!
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You can grab all of these activities at my shop! Enjoy!!!
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Close Reading–Spring Edition (and a FREEBIE!)

HOORAY! I just uploaded my Close Reading Packet for Spring.

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Here’s what is included:

Eight non-fiction articles are provided for close reading. The articles are about the following topics:

Signs of Spring
Tornadoes
Butterflies
Sheep
Rabbits
Ducks
Earthworms
Hummingbirds
Tulips

FYI: These are set up just like my original close reading packet! You can read all about how I introduced/implemented close reading in my classroom HERE. You can find a free “starter kit” at my TPT shop HERE.

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Two fictional stories and three fictional plays are provided for you as well. I am SO excited to introduce my students to the spring plays. They’ll be building their fluency, learning new vocabulary words, AND answering text-dependent questions. I think learning their parts and acting them out will allow them to know the plays “inside and out.”

The titles of the stories/plays are:
Bird Blues!
Fly, Kite, Fly!
The Littlest Bunny! (play)
Nervous Nancy (play)
At The Pond (play)

Here’s a “closer look” at the play Nervous Nancy. Vocabulary words are provided, along with text-dependent questions that require students to answer by finding evidence from the play.

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You can grab this packet at my shop! Click on the link to purchase:

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The first two people to comment will get this pack for FREE. Woo hoo!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Close Reading for Beginners

 

Well…hello!!! I wanted to share with you what close reading looks like in my class.

I always try to teach my students the WHY behind our learning. I think this helps my students deepen their understanding of what we are doing and allows them to make real-life connections. Often times I introduce an abstract reading strategy/skill by doing something concrete and tangible. Then, after the concrete modeling lesson, I make the connection to reading. So, when I began to teach my students how to “closely read” a text, I wanted to start with something concrete.

It doesn’t get anymore concrete than creepy crawlers? Right?

So, here’s what I did:

First, I purchased these creepy crawlers and these magnifying glasses  (in previous years my co-teacher and I would catch a few bugs outside….are we crazy or what?). You don’t have to use critters for this part. A cool branch, leaf, meal worm, or even rock would work!

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Then, I had my students observe one of the creepy crawlers with their naked eye. They recorded their observations on the “I See” side of the graphic organizer below. They could write words or draw a picture. We spent a few minutes observing, but we didn’t look at the critters with much detail.

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Then, I presented them with a magnifying glass and told them this time we are going to take a closer look at our bugs. They were ALL KINDS OF EXCITED! I told them to carefully study the details of the bug and record their observations on the “Now I See” side of their graphic organizer.

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Afterwards, we made the connection between taking a close look at an object and taking a close look at a text. Students noticed SOME things when they looked at the object/thing with their naked eye, but they observed MUCH more in detail when they carefully observed it with the magnifying glass. I explained to students that this applies to reading as well. When we read something for the first time, we may notice SOME things (but not all). Sometimes texts require a second or third look! After this lesson, we refer to close reading as “MAGNIFIED READING.” I think it helps them remember WHY we are closely reading something and brings them back to the first lesson.

The next day, we were ready to begin our first day of close reading. A big part of closely reading a text in a small group is to allow time for students to discuss the text. These posters hang in my small group area to help my kiddos remember how to be a good listener and active participant. The “Can You Prove It?” poster gives my students sentence starters (example: I know this because on page ______ it says…”)

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On the first day, we do a cold read of the text. A cold read means we’ve never read the text before nor have I given my students any background knowledge about the text.

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After the cold read, we address any unfamiliar vocabulary terms. I like to play a simple match up game with my kiddos to help them learn the vocabulary words.

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Then, we move onto our “warm read” on Day 2 and our “hot read” on Day 3. I explain what we do at each of these phases in my Close Reading pack here.

After students have visited and re-visited the text and we’ve had a discussion about the text, I provide my students with a  question and have them use evidence from the text to support their thinking. We often refer back to the “Can You Prove It?” poster to help us with our writing. My students are still working on restating the question in their answer. They’re also still working on how to properly use quotation marks in their responses.

(FYI: I’ve been SO proud of the progress my students have made in such a short amount of time. It’s HARD for first graders to look back at the text over and over again to find evidence to support their thinking because they often want to share their prior knowledge and how the text relates to them. I still provide time for students to share their experiences (IT’S FIRST GRADE, after all!!!) However, after they have shared, I try to redirect them back to the TEXT to find support. It takes time!)

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I keep all of my close reading printables organized in this handy dandy binder.

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I make multiple copies of this Close Reading Observation sheet and jot down any notes before, during, and after our small group time.

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Inside the binder, I also keep a little breakdown of what cold reads, warm reads, and hot reads are and a copy of some great text-dependent questions for fiction and non-fiction texts.

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I also hold some independent fiction and non-fiction activities that help students can use to practice closely reading a text to find information on their own.

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For the fiction and non-fiction passages, I organize everything in this file folder.

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In each pocket, I include 6 copies of each passage, vocabulary cards, and the response sheets. I label each pocket with the title of the passage and write whether it’s a fiction or non-fiction text (RL for Reading Literature or RI for Reading Informational). This helps my crazy mind stay somewhat sane!

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Here’s a “closer look” at the passages I use as close reads:

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Each passage has corresponding vocabulary cards and multiple response sheets. The response sheets ask a question that requires students to provide evidence from the text.

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If you’re interested in any of these materials, you can find ALL that you see above in my Close Reading for Beginners pack!

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Click on the link below to purchase:

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