Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reader Ready: Standard by Standard {RL 1.3 - Major Events in a Story}

Welcome back for another Reader Ready post!

Today we are taking a look at RL 1.3; specifically identifying the major events in a story.   

When we teach this standard, we use the Summarizing strategy.  The "Reader Ready" anchor chart we use for this standard is called the Summarizing Hand.  The Summarizing Hand allows students to think through the story and identify the major events.  The Summarizing Hand requires students to identify:  

someone...who is the main character?
wanted...what did the character want?
but...what was the problem? did the character try to solve the problem
then...what was the end of the story?

{Summarizing Hand: a reader is always thinking about the events in the story...we summarize what we read}

To introduce the Summarizing Hand, we go over each of the parts.  Students write their responses / thoughts on a post it note.  We do this for multiple read aloud books; in this case we had read the book, Beatrice Doesn't Want To.

During Guided Reading, we use the Summarizing Hand 2 ways.

We ask students to tell us the parts orally; pointing to each part (this is definitely more appropriate for beginning readers, readers that struggle with writing).

We also have opportunities for written response for Summarizing.  We have a couple options so throughout the year there is a bit of variety.  

Summarizing Flip Book:

Summarizing Graphic Organizer:

When we are teaching the Summarizing Hand, we point out that the "Someone" and "Wanted" part often describes the Beginning of a story, the "But" and "So" part often describe the Middle of a story, and the "Then" part often describes the End of a story.  This has helped our students identify the Beginning, Middle, and End immensely.  You'll see that our graphic organizers are set up so that they can see the B/M/E relationship to the Summarizing components.  We found without this, our students weren't able to tell the B/M/E clearly without rambling on.  

We use our RL 1.3  Print a Standard pack to review the standard.  Our Print a Standard packs each include over 10 activities.   The activities can be done whole group, small group, or independently.  They are also great for assessments or homework.  With all of our Print a Standard packs, we use formats that are easy to use but are engaging to the students. 

Some of our favorite Read Aloud's for RL 1.3:

My Lucky Day //
 Widget // Rainbow Fish
Porcupining // Bedhead

See you in 2 weeks for RL.4!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reader Ready: Standard by Standard {RL 1.2 and RL 2.2 - Determine the Central Message}

Time for another Reader Ready post!

Today we are going to take a look at RL.2.

The main point we try to get across with this standard is that good readers think about the central message, or lesson, that can be learned from the character(s) / book.  We try to emphasize the importance of thinking about how what happened in the story led to the character(s) learning something.  We talk about the fact that often these lessons can be applied in our own lives as well.

The "Reader Ready" anchor chart we use for this standard is called, "Lesson Link."  The "Lesson Link" is a visual that provides students with a reminder to think about 3 things:  

1.  What happened?

2.  What lesson did the character learn?  /  What lesson did the book teach? 

3.  How do you know?  (Provide evidence!)    

{Lesson Link: a reader thinks about the lesson learned...we think about what the character(s) or book can teach us}

We use this anchor chart as a class for a variety of books; in this case it was for the book, Swimmy.  We give students post it notes to write their response when asked what the lesson was.  From this anchor chart, we can see who "gets it," and who needs a bit more instruction in determining the lesson. We don't use this anchor chart, however, until we have done a couple of read alouds where we had a lot of discussion about the lesson learned. This ensures students feel comfortable writing the task.


During Guided Reading, we make lesson links.  On chain link strips, the students write their responses based on the prompts on the "Lesson Link" anchor chart (What happened, What was learned, How do you know).  We put them together to make an actual chain. This activity provides a tangible product that shows their learning. 

A tool we use to work on the RL.2 standard, is our Story Retell Bracelet and Bookmark(a FREEBIE in our store!).  We use these to retell the story during Guided Reading groups.  Each "bead" is for one part of the story (character, setting, etc).  The last 2 beads are for the Central Message (lesson) and Connections.  We feel the message and connections go hand in hand (at times).  When we use this tool, we find that we are able to hit the central message / lesson learned standard constantly through the year versus only during the specific times we are teaching RL.2.  They also have access to the Bracelet and Bookmark during Daily 5.  

Our favorite product for this standard are our RL 1.2 and RL 2.Print a Standard packs.  These packs each include over 10 activities to practice answering questions about the text, including the central message / lesson.  The RL 2.2 set includes fables (which can be very tricky!).  The activities can be done whole group, small group, or independently.  They are also great for assessments or homework.  With all of our Print a Standard packs, we use formats that are easy to use but are engaging to the students. 

As with any standard, good read aloud books are a MUST!  Here are a few of our RL.2 "Book Shelf" Recommendations:

Leo the Late Bloomer // 
Lion and the Mouse // The Rainbow Fish // 
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse // Spoon 

Hope you join us in 2 weeks for our next Reader Ready post; we will take a look at RL.3!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mini Lessons for Introducing Writer's Workshop

We have a really nice 25 day Introduction to Writer's Workshop plan laid out by our school district.  However, we like to supplement and add to the daily lessons with a few of our own.  Read on to grab some mini lessons you can use in your classroom as you introduce Writer's Workshop!

 As we do our mini lessons, we post them to our Objective Wall.

These Learn to Write books by Rozanne Lanczak Williams are amazing for Writer's Workshop mini lessons!  You can find them here on Amazon!  At the beginning of writing in First Grade, we use the paper show; picture top and writing bottom.  We encourage kiddos to focus a lot on their picture.  At this time, it is a strength for them to draw a really nice, detailed picture.  Also, it can aid in writing later as a kiddo will have a good amount to write about if their picture is detailed.
 The book shows how bunny draws a detailed picture step by step.
 This is a day's mini lesson.  We read the book and the kiddos spend their work time drawing a detailed picture.  We DO NOT have kiddos do any writing this day.
 We come back to our pictures the next day and add words to match.  We recall the book with Bunny and focus on the story at the end.  We point out to see how the words in the story match the picture Bunny drew.
 Here is up-close of our objective board.

We like to use this mini book from First Grade Schoolhouse as a way to have the kiddos practice order and sequence.  As we continue to build detailed pictures and writing, we use this journal to record each day during our Writer's Workshop time.  The books shown are a great support to the lesson!
We like how Monkey's story unfolds and you can see four events in order.

We love to use this set from Live Love Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten!  We go through each convention and practice.
These sheets help to support work with conventions as well.  We keep with a simple sentence and focus on the capital, spaces, and punctuation.  
 The Sticker Sentence and Draw and Write Sentence sheets are great for quick writing practice.  Of course, the kiddos love to make the sticker picture!  This cut and paste sentence is from Whimsy Workshop Teaching.  The Sentence Checklist and sheets above are from Haley O'Connor.
We put a mini version of the Writer's Eye Poster Set in our Handy Helper writing folders.
Once we've gotten to this point in our Writer's Workshop introduction, we like to hand out our Handy Helper folders to the kiddos.  We pack it with LOTS of goodies to help them when they are writing independently!

 This book is great for helping kiddos think about how to generate ideas for writing!  After we read Cat's story, kiddos complete the bubble thought sheets with some ideas they could use from their lives for writing pieces.  We staple these brainstorm sheets in their writing folders so they can go back to look at them.  You can grab the brainstorm sheet here!

 FINALLY we are ready to share our hard work!  Whether it is just a quick check in with their writing partners or a Writing Celebration when kiddos share a finished, edited piece, we use this poster to help set guidelines for kind, fair sharing and collaboration times.