Saturday, November 21, 2015

How I Track Sight Words

Last week I attended the First Grade Conference in Nashville (Franklin) Tennessee.  More on the amazing teachers I met there later in this post...

 During my guided reading session, I was asked how I track sight words.  I did my best to describe these little leveled sight word and fluency phrase books, but I decided a blog post about this was definitely in order!

These little booklets make teaching sight words and fluency phrases a breeze! Everyone can move through the lists at their own pace, allowing all the varied levels of readers to progress using the same tool.  WIN.

Here's how it works:

 First students start with booklet one.  Each page has 10 fry's words on the front and ten fluency phrases with those same words on the back.  When students read front and back, automatically and accurately,  they move on to the next list.  (editable template too)

Below is the very first list.  on the left, are the first ten words.  On the right, are the very beginning fluency phrases. 

 Once students work through an entire booklet, they graduate to the next.  If they can get through all 5 booklets, that's 500 sight words and 500 fluency phrases! 

I dated the bottom of the levels to keep a record of mastery.  Below is a little mock up of how you can quickly write it in there. 

My students loved to keep these in their book boxes and take home bags so they would be ready to "level up" at any time.  There are ten spots on the front of each book for coloring, stamping, or placing stickers on to show what levels have been completed.

Color coding the different levels is helpful for keeping track of the order of difficulty.  Also, these tuck perfectly into a data binder or take home folder.  

I only gave the student one booklet at a time to work through.  It was a big deal to move on to the next color. 

How often you check students can be up to you.  If you are a Friday assessment type of school then you can do that.  I usually did it as a quick check for one student each day at the start or end of guided reading small group time.  If a student really practiced and wanted to read their list to me, I would sometimes allow it more than once a week.   It takes 30 seconds to test both sides if a student is ready and reading with automaticity. 

If I had a student reading far above the norm, I would not start them at booklet one.  The more I used the booklets, the more comfortable I became with the lists and how they related to my students.

According to Fry's, each set of 100 words was a grade level.  So booklet 5 would be 5th grade high frequency words.  I had three students get to booklet 5 in the year.  I also had a couple that worked through booklet 1 the entire year.  Of course everyone else was somewhere in the middle.

If Fry's are not the words for you, I also included an editable template so you can make your own word list and fluency phrases.

I keep a tool box (student supply box) on my desk with my sheets of stickers.  Allowing students to choose the sticker that they want for the cover was a HUGE motivator for them.  If you are short on stickers, they can color or stamp each level. 

Click the picture below to find out more on TpT

Now just to share a little about the conference referenced above!  Cara told me that Tennessee was wonderful, and boy was she right!  I really enjoyed my time there.  I spoke for two days, eight different sessions.  It was so fun to see these smiling faces and many more.  I know their students were missing them, but what lucky students they have for sure!!!!  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guided Math

This year, I have taken my years of math lesson plans and created a day by day guide for whole group and small group instruction!  It's been therapeutic for me to go day by day and create a cohesive learning guide complete with whole group and small group materials for each day.  There have been many moments of why didn't I do this for myself years ago?!  The simple matter is that I didn't have any time!  Juggling teaching, family, and home upkeep is enough!  (Many times it's TOO much!)

Teacher to teacher, I'll tell you that these are my favorite tried and true lessons to teach.  This is the blueprint of my daily math instruction.  Each unit is 20 whole group and small group lessons.  Each unit has a unit assessment for you.  If you taught one lesson each day you would have a month of instruction per unit.  For all nine units, that's 180 days of detailed and thorough lesson planning and materials ready to go for you and your students!

Below you can find the link to each unit by clicking on the cover.

Here is a peek at some of the feedback for this set.  

"My firsties and I are enjoying the units so much. Every single one of my students know their sums of 10 - the earliest ever! Your lessons are spot on, engaging, and full of hands-on fun. They make it so easy to differentiate, too. Thank you!"

"This is my 36th year to teach 1st grade.....these are the best math units I have ever used in my classroom....students love them!!"

"What sets these units apart from other math units I've purchased on TpT is that EVERYTHING for small group time is included, including ideas for differentiation! The activities are engaging and I can tell this is going to save me hours and hours of planning. Thanks! (PS: If you are reading the reviews trying to decide whether it's worth it...YES! It is! 

"As a first year teacher this is a tool that will completely MAKE (as opposed to break) my year. Whole group lessons just weren't cutting it with my firsties, and this is going to completely change that for us without TOO much work on my part. I'm having to use units in a different order because our sequence is different, which doesn't seem to be an issue so far with the upload timeline. Thank you for an amazing resource!!!"

If you are still looking for more info on how I run guided math rotations and small group, you can check out this blog post here

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thanksgiving Lesson Ideas

It's the special time when we learn about our families, traditions, and the first Thanksgiving!  To help integrate those concepts with reading and writing, here is another interactive social studies keepsake book!

It starts as a pilgrim shirt.  All of these activities can fit into a journal or notebook rather than making the keepsake book as well.

This book is bursting with activities.  Thankfully there is a pocket that can hold extra pieces and activities if you need!
Choose to put all three pre-writing topics in a writing center or work on them whole group.  I like to use the writing as a culmination of the book and all that they have learned.

When you open the first two flaps, I chose to focus on building knowledge related to the First Thanksgiving.  The order and placement of activities is completely up to you!

Inside the second flaps I placed the items that focus on family, traditions, and comparing life then and now.  (The tee pee has been updated to a wigwam)

The activities have examples and non-examples which lead to vocabulary and discussion.  Natural conversations and questions arise when  you are working through the activities.

The story of the First Thanksgiving is a take on a reader's theatre that I wrote a few years ago for my class. (It's free later in this post)

  Students read the tabs and cut and order them onto this story board that is numbered 1-8 underneath the completed story.  It's another wonderful lesson to help students think critically about what occurred over 300 years ago!

To get these activities for your classroom just click below!

Another fun lesson that I loved using in writer's workshop, was on perfecting our sentence writing.  (Ha ha ha did I say perfecting?  Just kidding we don't do perfect in first grade!  We do better and best!)

 I wanted to incorporate the turkey into our writer's workshop lessons.  We read non-fiction books about turkeys, and then we wrote our own turkey facts.  Students wrote each sentence in a different color.  This was our editing lesson on sentences.  Next, students wrote their final draft on hand drawn feathers by yours truly that I ran on colored construction paper.  Having each sentence in a different color helped students to really distinguish what makes a sentence and when to stop and make a new feather. 

The result, some fun Turkey facts on our very own lovable turkeys.  We were swooning over our teacher drawn turkey friends.  Since then, I have updated this template (thank goodness) and another fun turkey activity too!

You can tell these pictures are older, (around 2012 before I knew how to stand still for a picture apparently) The lesson was for verbs!  What a blast.  We read Run Turkey Run, and then we brainstormed verbs for turkeys.  Trot, gobble, fly, hide, etc.

Finally, we chose our favorite turkey verb and we made our own little display.

To get these updated freebies just click the picture below from google drive.

You can click the covers of my favorite read alouds to grab a few on amazon for your little turkeys too! These are the ones that I just couldn't find in our school library. (amazon affiliate links)

And finally...I created a resource of my favorite chants and poems to teach during this time.  If I had an extra ten minutes at the end of the day, this was a perfect solution!  We performed the reader's theatre that I wrote in this resource for our families and administration.  Just click it to grab it free.

Have a great week!