Sharing my LOVE of Literacy!

If you can read this, thank a teacher !!

November 19, 2009

Another Thanksgiving Read Aloud

There is still time to read aloud a Thanksgiving story to your class!

I have always loved Arthur and so did my first graders

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

Thanksgiving Read Aloud

I was working in the library the other day and came across this book that I just fell in love with while reading it! The story is wonderful and the pictures were so beautiful!

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

Vivid Verbs

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.
Running ridiculous,
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!

Have fun!

November 3, 2009

How Poetry Improves Fluency and Reading Ability

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

Spelling Games!

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!