Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Determining the Central Message and Identifying the Main Idea and Supporting Details (RL 1.2, RI 1.2)

This is our first big reading unit for the year and it is a tricky one to start with!

To get started with Central Message, we do an author study with Kevin Henkes books.  His books are so great for the beginning of the year with the messages they deliver about friendship and being kind and following rules!  They lend themselves perfectly to this unit.  As we read each book, we talk about what message the author was sharing with us; what lesson the author wanted us to learn.  We list a lesson or central message for each book on a poster.

 After a reading a few books together and identifying the central message/lesson, we have the kiddos try to identify the lesson on their own.  We use A Weekend with Wendell.  Most kiddos are able to give a good lesson and a few are able to give a supporting detail from the story for why that is a good lesson.  Here are some samples. 

Now, like we said, not all kiddos are able to do this by themselves yet, so we practice a few more books together.  Once we've read all of the Kevin Henkes books that we selected, we do an activity to help kiddos relate a central message/lesson to their own lives.

This kiddo said: "I'm never going to be mean to my friends."
This kiddo said: "I will not be worried about school."
This kiddo said: "Don't be worried about getting your tooth loose."

You can grab this freebie below!

Check out these resources as a great support to your lessons!  They work well for follow-up work, as an assessment, or a as tool to send home.

When we finish up all of our Kevin Henkes books, we move onto non fiction and start to talk about main idea and supporting details.  This happens right around Apple time, so we've got an Apple theme to our book selection!

 This Fall book is great to kick off Main Idea!  We talk about how on non fiction books, the Main Idea is often closely related to the title.  That made it easy to identify the Main Idea of this Fall book!  As the kiddos listened, they were collecting ideas to fill in their puzzle pieces.  This is a great activity for all learners: you can have them just draw a picture or they can write or do both!  You can grab the puzzle sheet free below!

Here we get crafty with our Apple facts!

And of course, we add in a little fun with Johnny Appleseed!  We LOVE using stickies to easily get input from all kiddos!  It was also a great primer to get them ready to go back and do the writing piece on the worksheet below!

Our Focus Board is filling up with all of our Central Message/Main Idea goodies.  We like to use this as a review/preview during lessons.

Here we are introducing Main Idea with Supporting Details.  We use the apple books and have kiddos focus on the Seasons of an Apple tree as their topic.

You can grab this freebie below!

And here is another Main Idea lesson we've done in the past that has worked well with our groups.

The Important Book is great for so many lessons, including Main Idea!  Below you can find a freebie of the Important Thing page (and you'll see we've used in for other topics/subjects).
Check out these resources as a great support to your lessons!  They work well for follow-up work, as an assessment, or a as tool to send home.

Happy Teaching!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Guided Reading: as an Intervention Teacher

This year I (Tamra) made a switch to from classroom teacher (1st grade) to Literacy Intervention Teacher.   I work with 4-6 students at a time for about 30 minutes each group.   At the school I work at,  Guided Reading is a big focus this year.  Teachers are refining their Guided Reading instruction.  One of the ways they are doing this is by implementing a similar lesson plan format school-wide.   I am doing the same.  It is very similar to what I've always done and I'm so pleased that it works so well in an Intervention setting!  

I split my lesson plan into 2 days.  Below you'll find what I do each day. 


1.  The first thing the kiddos do is practice writing 3 sight words on white boards (Target Dollar Spot).  I get the sight words from the list assigned by the county I teach in.  Kiddos write the words and I help them as needed. After writing the words, we clap out the letters and erase them by "tracing them away."  I keep track of student progress with sight words on a really simple check off sheet. 

2.  After sight word practice, I introduce the book that we will be working on.  One of the first things we talk about is vocabulary that we will be encountering in the text.  I always write vocabulary words on the small whiteboards so the students can see the word.  We "find the words" using these finger light up cars (Target Dollar Spot).  

3.  After a picture walk, students start reading the text.  All students whisper read and I listen to students one at a time.  I assist students while they read.  At the beginning of the year,  I model the expectation that they read and reread; they may not just wait until time is up.

While I listen to each student read, I make anecdotal notes using a really simple system...Post It Notes.  It's quick and painless!  After I have a good amount of data, I record the data from the Post It notes onto a data sheet that allows me to see patterns of errors and reading behaviors.  

After reading for about 8-10 minutes, we stop.  I also ask oral comprehension questions (2 on day one and 2 on day two).   I write these questions out before hand so that I can make sure my questions are rigorous and similar to TRC type questions (TRC's are the running records we use in our county).  When the students answer the questions orally, I expect them to restate and answer the question and provide evidence for their answer.  

Based on the needs of the group, we spend a bit of time on word study.  This is generally a phonics pattern that the kiddos are needing help with.  In this example, I am using our Literacy Bags to work on digraphs. 

The last thing we do on Day 1, is work on a new sight word.  I try to select this from the text they just read.  First, I spell the word on the white board, then we play a game called "What's Missing" where I take letters away, and last the students "make" the word using magnetic letters.  (I put the magnetic letters they will need in little Rubbermaid tubs before the lesson starts.)  


Day two looks just like day one, except I scale the time back of each of the components.  We practice the same 3 sight words, review the vocabulary, reread the text, and practice the new sight word (we do not do the word study on this day).   Spending less time on each of these components gives us plenty of time to work on responding to text in written form.  Ahead of time, I prepare 2 questions which always say, "Use parts of the text in your answer."  

That's our 2 Day Guided Reading plan in a nutshell!  After the 2 day plan is complete, we start a new plan/ book!  This has allowed each group to get through 2 books each week.  

Here's another great Intervention goodie!  Grab this Nonsense Word Fluency mini-pack as a FREEBIE on our FB page.  Click the pic below to grab it!

Have a nice Fall weekend! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Curriculum Night

Just this week we had our Curriculum Night with parents.  In our district, Curriculum Night is a time for parents to come to the classroom and find out about routines, procedures, and curriculum in the classroom.  Kiddos do not come.  We're always looking for ways to best give parents a peek into the curriculum in a way they can understand.  After years of just telling parents about it, we made a new handout to give instead.  

In our handout, we provided clear information as well as pictures of curriculum tools.  We wanted parents to really get a "glimpse" into the 1st grade classroom!  The handout also allows the parents a tool to take home with them to dive into more late.

We've found using this handout helps to limit the amount of talking we do and allow parents more time to consider the curriculum and ask specific questions.  The night is much more relax having an open dialogue format such as this!  

We are sharing this handout as an Editable Download (PowerPoint Version).  You can enter your own classroom information.  You can also add slides or remove slides as you like.  Hope you can find it useful in your classroom as well!  Click here to grab it!

   Some of the other goodies from Curriculum Night:
We talk about our homework.  We lay out samples of our homework items on each table for parents to peek at.  We review how to record fluency in the reading homework and how to respond to their kiddo's responses in the writing journal.  It is sure nice to clear up parents questions before we start sending this stuff home!

Here are some handouts we use to encourage parents to work at home with kiddos.  We also have parent write a note to their kiddos.  The kids are always surprised to find them when they come to school the next day!