(with lots of reading!!!)
December 31, 2009
December 21, 2009
December 17, 2009
Here are some ideas I have used in the past when my students have their winter break.
1. Send home a fun packet with a variety of activities. I had five journal entries, some math pages, word searches related to the holiday, crossword puzzles, and some coloring pages. Then I add a letter from me on the last page telling them how proud I was that they worked on their packet during the break and to make sure they bring it back for a special surprise in January.
2. Send home a reading calendar. I usually make seven pages, but request the child try to fill out five. Ask your students to read every night with someone different (This is great for all those visits your child may have during the holiday!) Ask the child to have their reading partner write two sentences about the book sharing time they had. Then have the child write something about the book, too. I take every name of the children who return the packet to me in January and have a raffle. I choose three winners and give out small prizes, like a small marker set, a homework pass, or a lunch with the teacher pass!
3. Make a list together in their reading journal. Tell them to come up with different ways they can READ, READ, READ, during the holidays. Then make a grid in their reading journals so they can track the activity and the amount of time spent reading. Students never realize how much they are reading!
1. Reading on the Internet
2. Reading the comics
3. "Reading" a game
4. Ask your class to choose a favorite picture book and read it over their break. Then have them do a creative book review on it. There are SO MANY ideas for responding to literature that involve art, music, or even using a PC! Think outside the Box!
Dont' forget to tell your students to have a wonderful break and HAPPY READING!!!!!!!!!!
December 15, 2009
The Gingerbread Girl
Story: The old woman is lonely because her gingerbread boy ran away and was eaten by the fox, so she makes a gingerbread girl hopping she will no longer be lonely. Well, the gingerbread girl runs away. People and animals begin to chase her. Once again that tricky fox shows up. Will the gingerbread girl escape the same fate as the gingerbread boy?
Ideas: Compare to The Gingerbread Man or The Gingerbread Baby. I like using a Venn diagram for this activity! I also love taking this story and making it into a Reader’s Theater for grades 2-4.
Who Will Pull Santa’s Sleigh Tonight?
Story: Santa goes to check on the reindeer and they are all sick. He needs a plan to find some helpers for his sleigh ride on Christmas Eve. He holds reindeer auditions and all these animals show up. When that doesn’t work, he comes up with a new idea. But will it work?
Ideas: A great read aloud for grade K-3!
This is a great story for predicting with second and third graders! I read the beginning of the book to the class. Then they take out their journals and make predictions. We share and discuss as a class. Next, (This can be during the same lesson or the following day). Then I read up to how Santa has a new plan and the kidos make a second prediction in their journals. We share and discuss predictions. I then read the rest of the story and we talk about how Santa and Mrs. Claus save the day.
Hope you get a chance to share these stories!
Happy Holidays !
December 13, 2009
This is the perfect story for a primary classroom. I love the Biscuit books and how curious he is in the stories. This is a nice way to introduce Hanukkah and some of the traditions that are related to this special holiday!
Story: Come along with Biscuit as he helps his owner make a beautiful menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. It's a great time for stories, songs, food and friends! The story explains how eight candles are used during the Hanukkah celebration.
This is a nice way to introduce Hanukkah and some of the traditions that are related to this special holiday! A nice class discussion comparing this story to their own holiday traditions is the perfect way to share this book! Then have your students draw their family holiday tradition. Don't forget to have your kidos share with the class!
I love this story because it intertwines a holiday story with a lesson. This story would lend itself to a comparison of family traditions. This could be a 2nd or 3rd grade lesson!
Story: It's the last night of Hanukkah and there are only three little potatoes left. This is just not enough to make latkes for the relatives. Rachel has the solution and she will borrow some potatoes from Mrs. Greenberg. Then she will invite Mrs. Greenberg, who is all alone, to share Hanukkah with them. But though Mrs. Greenberg has a heart of gold, she is a stubborn as an ox--she doesn't want to be a bother.
Have your students fold a large piece of construction paper in half. They can then draw and describe their own holiday tradition on one side. On the opposite side have them write a summary of the story and draw their favorite scene from the book. When finished, share with the class.
Happy Hanukkah !
December 11, 2009
I LOVE holiday Books! Here is another wonderful read aloud!
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by: Jan Brett
I have read this in grade 2 and grade 4... the kidos always love it. There are a few fun things I have done with it too!
Story: Teeka has to fetch the reindeer for Santa's big ride and she wants everything to be perfect. She has trouble training the reindeer and becomes very bossy. Teeka realizes she needs a new approach.
1. While reading I stop and ask "Do you have any text to text connections?" Kidos usually talk about how the reindeer have names different than the Rudolf song. I also ask, " Is there any text to self connections?"
2. With my fourth graders I give them copies of the Rudolf story and with a partner they make a venn diagram to compare the two stories.
3. With my second graders we make a T-chart and discuss Teeka and her character traits in the beginning of the story and at the end of the story.
4. I also have both classes write a response in the reading journals about the story.
Happy Reading !
December 9, 2009
Santa's Noisy Night by Julie Sykes
I love this cute story of Santa being so jolly, he needs to be reminded by his reindeer, the family dog and cat, and even a snowman that he needs the be quiet so he doesn't wake the children on Christmas Eve.
This is a great story to rewrite as a reader's theater. The repetitive text is also great for choral reading.
I read this book aloud to my fourth graders one year. We then wrote our own Noisy Santa stories where elves, moms, talking parrots, and little goldfish told Santa, " SHHH! Don't wake the children!"
December 1, 2009
Countdown to Christmas with Reading!
The little girl I tutor asked if we could make a tree to countdown to Christmas. I said it had to be related to reading, so I thought about it for a few days and this is the concept!
1. Make a large Christmas tree with enough room to place 24 round ornaments on it.
2. Create a booklet with 24 pages. (You could also use a writing journal that your kidos may already have in the classroom). The booklet will have a rime at the top of each page. There are 37 common rimes used in reading. Use google.com for this list if you do not know the rimes!
3. Cut out 24 round ornaments and write the rimes you chose for the booklet.
For example: If you have – ack on the first page of your booklet, also put it on ornament number 24
4. On December 1st, have a student find ornament number 24 and place it on the large cut out Christmas tree.
5. Have the students take out their books and try to come up with 24 words that end in that rime.
For example: -ack
Tack rack, black, snack, track, etc
6. Do this daily as a morning activity. Each day the number of words kidos come up with will get smaller and smaller. Save the shorter lists for the last days of the countdown!
7. Talk about the lists the class generates. If you have younger kidos they can work on the lists with a partner.
8. This is also a great send home activity for the month of December!
**** If rimes are a concept that is too high for your kidos, this can be done as a circle time activity. You can use a letter a day, or easier word patterns such as –at !! ***
November 19, 2009
Story: Arthur's teacher makes him director of the school's Thanksgiving play, it seems like a fun job at first. But things start getting difficult when he must assign the roles, especially since no one wants to play the part of the turkey!
This is a great story to make into a Reader's Theater.
You could make a T-chart with your class about the pros and cons of being a director of a play.
As always, reading aloud this book for pure enjoyment always makes the kids happy!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
November 17, 2009
Here is a fabulous Thanksgiving read aloud with a few ideas to incorporate into the lesson!
The Firefighters Thanksgiving
By: Maribeth Boelts
Illustrator: Terry Widener
Story: Station 1 is a busy place. When there aren't fires to put out there are plenty of chores. On Thanksgiving Day there's a big feast to prepare. Lou is in charge of dinner this year, but just as they finish preparing the meal, a call comes in. They drop everything to get to the fire. It looks like there may not be a Thanksgiving dinner afterall. Luckily, the grateful families in the neighborhood show their thanks!
Ideas: Theme of Thanksgiving and bravery. There are SO MANY teachable concepts here. Have students write their own Thanksgiving narrative. Have them pretend they are a character in the story and write a letter of thanks to Station 1. Go a step further and write a letter to your own local fire station!
Word Patterns: This text is filled with rhyme patterns. Give the students post it notes and have them write patterns as they listen to the read aloud.
Reader's Theater: Take this text and rewrite it with a narrator and Lou. Have students partner up and practice reading aloud for fluency!
Of Course.. you can always just read the book to your kidos and have a discussion about the story and the meaning of Thanksgiving.
November 10, 2009
All teachers want their students to write with descriptive word choice. I teach lessons on vivid verbs all the time in both writing and poetry! I explain to my students how I want to " BE A PART OF THE ACTION" as I am reading their work.
Here is one lesson the kidos always enjoy:
1. Have this Shel Silverstein poem on chart paper:
"Standing is Stupid"
Standing is stupid,
Crawling's a curse,
Skipping is silly,
Walking is worse.
Hopping is hopeless,
Jumping's a chore,
Sitting is senseless,
Leanings a bore.
Jogging's insane -
Guess I'll go upstairs and
Lie down again.
2. After reading aloud this poem, have students identify the verbs in the poem.
3. Talk about what they visualize in their minds. Discuss what ways the poem is vivid.
4. Now discuss how these verbs can be even MORE vivid.
5. Come up with a list of synonyms for these verbs,
6. Now come up with new phrase to write a new class poem.
7. Next, it is time for independent writing. Tell students then can choose any action for their first line. They can have a brand new topic. Boys really get into this because they think of their favorite sport and there are a lot action words in sports! Have your students write their own "ACTION" poem. I also write my own poem to share.
8. Share and publish.
9. As a follow up lesson, have the students move from a poem to a paragraph using more vivid verbs!
November 3, 2009
I was teaching reading in a first grade classroom last week and I saw a wonderful idea that could be used with my struggling readers who are below grade level.
After giving it some thought, I really feel this can be done from grades 1 to 5 and the kids would love it!
Create a Poetry Notebook
1. Use a composition notebook.
2. Collect one to three poems a week. (This depends on the grade level and the reading level of your students)
3. Have students work in your small guided reading group to read and discuss the poem early in the week.
4. Look for patterns in the poems - whatever skill you may be teaching (maybe your word study pattern or rhymes)
5. Glue poems in their poetry notebooks.
6. Throughout the week have student practice reading aloud their poems with a partner or to the class. You can even choose three students a day from a "poetry jar" to read their favorite poem to the class.
This is a wonderful way to increase oral reading practice, improve fluency, and word recognition skills.
I plan to add this activity to my weekly tutoring sessions.
November 2, 2009
I always loved to play spelling games in my classroom. I always tried to play cooperative games because as a student I never could spell well so I always wanted my students to have help when playing spelling games. Here are two of my favorites that I have played in my classroom: Spelling Basketball (no you do not even need a basketball) - Divide students into 4 or 5 teams - Assign words a point value (a 2-pointer shot or a 3 pointer shot) - Have one team choose a word from their list - Have teams spell word together or write it on a small white board - If they spell it correctly they get their point. If not another team can get a "penalty shot" and spell the word for 1 point. *** If you want you can a small ball and have the kids take the shot for Bonus points. Spelling Relay - Divide you class into two teams - Then have 3 kids line up in a row - Have a second team line up - Call out a word - Kidos take turns running to the board to spell the word - If the previous person made a mistake, the next player can correct it - Whoever spells the word first correct wins the round I have played this with kids - and they can do it relatively quiet if you stress the game will end if they get too out of hand. It is also a great game to play right before dismissal!
October 25, 2009
I did not forget about those 1st and 2nd graders for a fun Halloween read aloud!
Everyone loves Arthur, including this reading teacher!
Arthur goes to school to celebrate Halloween, but he does not seem to really like the holiday. He won't try the vampire juice or play the Halloween game. He also seems nervous when he is trick or treating with his sister. Then she disappears into the house that Buster says is the "witches" house. Uh Oh !
I love how 1st and 2nd graders talk about all the events in the story and what makes Arthur feel scared. This is also a great story to make predictions with while reading aloud.
Happy Halloween Everyone !
October 23, 2009
This is a hilarious book for a read aloud to 3rd or 4th grade. Kids love to talk about all the ways Amelia misunderstands direction as she prepares for the Halloween Bash! This book has a lot of wonderful word play. You can extend this book into an author study way past Halloween!
My favorite follow up writing activity:
1. On stripes of paper list a bunch of directions.
2. Have students pretend they are Ameila Bedelia and write the directions from her point of view. Students will need a lot of modelling with this activity!!!!
3. Write you own example with the students to show them how humorous and creative they can be!
4. Plan for a few days with this writing activity!
3. Have fun.... Don't forget to share those directions in the authors chair!
October 18, 2009
Here is a book I just love:
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat
So many activities could be done with this story (There are just not enough days before Halloween to do them all).
Primary Lesson Idea:
1. Read aloud the story.
2. Talk about the reading concept of sequence. Then talk about the sequence of events in the story.
3. With little ones, use cut out pictures and have the students glue them in order on paper. With older kidos, use both pictures and a sentence to create a sequence chart.
Third and Fourth Graders:
1. Read aloud the story.
2. Talk about the pattern of the text.
3. Make a list of other October/Halloween words.
4. Have students create their own " There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A ---------------- " story. You could even do this with partners!
5. Publish and share stories in your authors chair. Or better yet, go read these stories to a kindergarten or 1st grade classroom.
October 8, 2009
There are so many ways a poem can be used in a classroom. Today I am going to share some of my favorite lessons that I use with my favorite poem.
Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" by Shel Silverstein
There is SO MUCH to do with this poem!
Here a few of my lesson ideas I have done in my room over the years:
1. Visualization: I begin the lesson by asking the students to draw their favorite dessert. We discuss the different responses. I then say how I can see all these desserts in my head. I even draw my own dessert and describe it with details. Next, I have my students listen as I read aloud the
first section of "Sarah." I ask them to draw what see in their minds and write words that show me those pictures. We do this two more times as I finish the poem.
Then I read the poem a second time so students can add more details to their pictures and more words to their list. We then share our drawings and the words that made out pictures in out head more vivid.
Kids really love this activity! I have even taught it in a special education room.
2. Alliteration: This poem is filled with this poetic device. It is even in the title. I introduce the concept and give some examples. Then each student gets a copy of this poem and reads it aloud to a partner. The partners then underline all the examples of alliteration. We then write our own alliteration poems and share them with the class. I ask the audience to listen for new examples from the poems to reinforce the concept.
3. Word Choice: This is a great way to teach this writing trait. First I hold up an empty mini trash can. I ask the kids to describe it which isn't easy because it is empty. I then add different objects to the trash bucket and use descriptive words and then discuss word choice. Next, I read the poem to my students asking the students to write the descriptive word and phrases that stick out. After my second reading of the poem, we discuss the word choice the author used and why. The students attempt to write their own poem to reflect word choice.
Oh... Remember to take to gargabe out!
September 21, 2009
Reading in the Content Areas can difficult for all readers.
The best way I help my students with science and social studies reading is to use a pre-reading strategy I have used in my own classroom!
I use this first in science. With all the content vocabulary and information in one science reading even the best readers become overwhelmed!
Pre-reading Strategy Lesson:
1. Introduce the mnemonic below. Each Letter gives tips to increase comprehension of the text.
I need HELP in science! ( or social studies )
How does the page look?
Learn New Words
2. How does the page look? Discuss with the students if there are highlighted words on the page. Are there diagrams? Is there a lot of text or is it broken up in sections with subtitles?
3. Examine Titles: This is where you begin to activate prior knowledge. Read the titles aloud together and discuss with students if they already know of any information about the topic.
4. Learn New Words: Some books have a space for the new glossary words. Other highligh or boldface the words. Talk about the new words. Read the definition from the glossary. Have students partner read definitions.
5. Picture Clues: Complete a picture walk through the section you are to read. (Teachers do this all the time when reading storybooks, so why not try it in science and social studies?) Discuss the pictures to activate prior knowledge.
6. Now you are ready to read!
*** FYI: This pre-reading lesson may take you the whole class period depending on the age level you teach. I have done this as my first science lesson of the year! Then, the next day we read the first section!
September 14, 2009
The best thing about this poem is a teacher can use it in ANY subject, with ANY book, or for ANY holiday!
Now, to top it all off, I found this awesome website that helps any writer become an acrostic poet! The website helps the writer brainstorm, gives hints when you move your mouse on the letter, and after your creative, poetic mind is finished. You can print up and publish your poem!
**** Just make sure you check your the spelling before you print!
Give this website a try!
Happy poetry writing everyone!
September 10, 2009
Another writing activity. There are two ways to approach this lesson.
1. Writing a poem about color
Think About This:If you are planning on teaching about a literary device, you can decide if you want to teach the definitions before or after you watch the video!
Think about how the color describes the mood of each character.
Next, use the same color you discussed with the class and write a new paragraph or poem.
Now have each student make a list of words that remind them of a color. Then have them write it in a paragraph or poem! If you want to students to understand mood, make sure it is expressed in their poem!
Be Creative and Have fun!
* Literary Devices:
mood: emotional condition created by the text. It refers to the general sense or feeling which the reader is supposed to get from the text.
metaphor: a comparison of two things
September 3, 2009
I hope everyone has a wonderful first day back to school!
The first five things I always did with my students were:
1. Assigned seats with a name tag!
2. Have a simple and fun activity on their desk!
3. Morning Procedures were explained or with my older grades written on a poster on the front board.
4. Begin my welcome with a read aloud.
5. After the read aloud, have a quick stretch break (Sometimes this means going on a school tour).
Good luck teachers!
August 30, 2009
Teaching poetic devices to students can be a challenge, but I try to make it as fun as possible. There are a lot of different ways to enhance poetry lessons!
Three I love to teach are:
alliteration: same repeating consonant sound at the beginning of a group of word (for example
onomatopoeia: a word that imitates the sound it represents (for example: kerplunk)
simile: a figure of speech using 'like' or 'as' in a sentence to compare to unlike things
Choose one or all of the poetic devices describe above to teach.
Watch this video below a few times.http://pbskids.org/lions/stories/spicyhot.html
Have the students listen for and write down the examples of alliteration, onomatopoeia, and/or simile. Share and discuss.
Now have students practice making their own examples.
Next, have them write them on colorful paper for a bulletin board about poetic devices or have your students use their example to write a poem.
One fun idea is to return to the video. Have kidos choose their favorite color from the video and write their own color poem.
Do not forget to have a whole group share!
Happy Poetry Writing!
August 29, 2009
A Fine Fine School by Sharon Creech is a humorous story about a girl who loves school, but then the principal wants the students to come to school more and more. They have to go on the weekends, holidays, and during the summer. Someone has to tell the principal this is just too much school!
After this read aloud, on chart paper, we make a list of reasons why our school is a fine, fine school. Then students write a poem or short paragraph about why they think their school is a "fine, fine school." They publish their writing on paper of a school house I have reproduced. I then hang them outside the classroom for open house.
I read this book usually first thing in the morning. We talk about the surprise ending and share how each one of us felt last night and this morning before we arrived at school. I then have my students write a paragraph about their "first day jitters."
Happy First Day of School!
August 26, 2009
I know that with all those state writing tests, teachers feel the have to teach to the writing test, but when writing is presented in a fun and personal way, students will learn those tricks they need when that BIG SCARY STATE TEST arrives!
One of the best authentic writing pieces I ever had my students produce was when we returned from a field trip or a school event (i.e. concert, presentation, play). This is where you tap into their writing. Kids love to share what they like and dislike!
1. As soon as you return, begin a writing session.
2. Give them a few quick directions for their writing.
3. Then let them "quick write."
4. End this writing session with a whole group sharing! Tell the kidos they will return to this writing tomorrow.
1. Give students specific directions. (Maybe those things you"need" to cover for that state test).
*** Sometimes I use my own quick write here and model my expectations for their edits.
2. Have students elaborate on their quick write. Add more details, make the writing flow in a logical manner, add a closing thought.
3. Have another sharing session. This can be done with a partner, small group or whole group!
See how their passion for something improves their writing skills!
August 18, 2009
Yes, I have said this once before, but it really motivates a struggling reader and gives them confidence.
The Game: Making Words
Materials: "word mats" (I used blue paper, decorated them and laminated them) di Scrabble letters in a bucket paper or a white board & dry erase marker to keep score
1. Roll the di ( If you have older kids with a high reading level, you can use two dice).
3. For a roll of 2 to 6, you will take that number of scrabble letters from the bucket without looking!4. On the word mat, the player will try to make a word with the letters pulled from the bucket. For ex: Roll a 5 and choose the letters: k e y c a You can spell cake
5. Use the points on the scrabble letters to get your score.
6. Place the letters back into the bucket.
7. The next player begins. 8. Take turns until a player reaches 30 points and wins. (This point value can be higher for older readers).
Have fun! Happy word making!
August 13, 2009
I am starting a new reading incentive with the child I tutor! Here is how it will work:
1. Have the child choose a book she wants to read!
2. We will read this book together. (I tutor in reading, so I want to make sure the comprehension is there when we read).
3. Once the book is finished, I will ask comprehension questions as well as if the book was enjoyable. Sample questions will be:
4. For every book we read, I am going to give out a "BOOK BUCK"
5. Once the predetermined amount is earned, she can use her book bucks to buy a prize.
FYI: In the classroom, this could come from a prize box or a free book from Scholastic book clubs. Because I am going to do this with the child I tutor, I am going to have her earning a specific prize. (For example, I know she wants glitter pens, so that will be her first prize.)
Happy Reading Everyone!
July 31, 2009
I love to teach reading so much that I also tutor. The best thing about being a tutor is the one on one time.
Play any reading game to improve their skills! Be as creative as possible! I love word making games. Here is one my kids love:
"Magic Word Bucket"
1. Have small letters in a bucket. Make sure if you make these you have a lot of extra vowels and commonly used letters ( r, s, t, m, y, n, d )
2. Have a large spoon (a ladle is perfect!)
3. Scoop up some letters and spread them on the table.
4. Begin to make as many words as you can!
5. For every letter a player uses, the person gets 1 point!
For example: week is 4 points
6. When all the possible letters in the pile have been used, compare points with the other player. Who ever has the most points wins that round. Remember: sometimes there will be left over letters.
7. I also give bonus points to the kids who use a q or z if that is a letter they have scooped up!
8. Have fun making words !
July 26, 2009
First, go watch my "old school" videos from School House Rocks which are located on the left hand side of this blog! They will help you complete your homework!
1. Go to the following website:
2. There are four mad libs to choose from. Pick one. You will then have to click on the "play" button.
3. You will be asked to choose various parts of speech for your story. Just follow the prompts.
4. Print up your story and read it to someone in your house. Ask that person to sign their name at the bottom of your story.
Have fun! Do not forget to bring your copy to school by Thursday! We will be sharing them with some classmates!
If you want BONUS POINTS.... bring in an extra story.
July 25, 2009
Here is your poetry reading challenge for the week:
Watch the two videos clips below (more than once) and then answer the questions about each video!
Video # 1
Answer the questions below in your reading journal.
1. Choose your favorite poem from the video. What is the title? What did you like about the poem?
2. My favorite poem is "Ode to a Washing Machine." What do you think is my favorite part of the poem?
1. What is "Spicy Hot Colors" about?
2. Choose 2 of your favorite colors from the video clip. Tell me why they are your favorite. Be descriptive!
I hope you enjoyed these poems and this reading challenge!
July 24, 2009
Here is your Reading Challenge for the Week!
1. Read my blog post called, "Why is reading so important?"
2. What is #1 from my blog post? Put the answer on the "Topic" line of your graphic organizer passed out in class today.
3. Find a ebsite, a news article, or 3 visual representations that will prove to me that #1 has meaning! ( if you are really in a creative mood, I will even watch a youtube video - Remember this is a school assignment - Rated G PLEASE!! )
4. Thin about how you connect to #1?
5. You may present your "proof" to me in any format. Be creative. Make a collage, write an essay, make a powerpoint.
Reminder: This is due Friday! Spelling counts! We will have a drawing next week for all the students who correctly completed the challenge!
Happy Reading !
July 23, 2009
Reading is a Life Skill that opens up so many possibilities.
There are many reasons why reading is so important, but I will leave you with my Top Ten:
10. In order to be successful in school, you must be able to read.
9. Reading = Food (Menus & Cookbooks)
8. Filling out ANY form requires the skills of reading.
7. I would not be able to drive without being able to read! I had to read my learner's permit test and my driver's test booklet in order to get my license! Every time a person drives, she/he reads street signs and maps.
6. Technology: Websites, E-mails, Text Messages
5. Directions on how to use my digital camera, my ipod, my coffee maker, my DVR! What directions do you want to read?
4. Taking Medicines: What if you could not read the dose you needed?
3. Reading helps develop a positive self image.
2. Reading = Power (Those who read well are more successful.)
1. Reading is an endless communication tool !
Just think.... nations were built on words....
Why do you think reading is so important?