Friday, 13 May 2016

Thoughts on "The End" & Classroom Book Release #1

The end is near. As we begin to tie up loose ends, and reign the kiddos in (reminding them that it ain't over YET)...... let's remind ourselves that we gotta keep trudgin' until THE END. Now is the time to introduce something new. Mix it up! Create a lesson that is out of the box or that challenges your kiddos. 

Don't tap out because they seem to be--- change it up! 

My job as a Learning Support Teaching can get mundane (if I let it). Every week I am thinking of new ways to spice it up or introduce something new to the students. Because I work with JK/SK's and grade 3 students, it's a smorgasbord below..... but you get the drift.

My teaching partner and I have created a corner of our room dedicated to 'reading creations'. We all find fancy things on Pinterest that we pin for a rainy day, knowing full well that they will never come in fruition. SO, we have made it our mission to find easy, yet attainable games and activities to do with our kiddos. 

This activity was one of those!

Our students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten work with a list of sight words through our PALS Program. We took craft paper from our paper room at school, and wrote down various sight words and letters (for sounds) along the paper in a variety of colours. To practise, I pulled students names and had them hop along the paper saying sight words and sounds until they got to the end. As they got better, I timed them. We'd have competitions-- (i.e. Girls vs. Boys or JK's vs. SK's etc.) on who could get to the end of the paper the quickest. They get so pumped to beat their previous time. 



Another easy game is called BAM! We wrote their sight words on cue cards, and added cards that said BAM into the mix, as well. I've done this as a whole group or separated the class into teams (calling up 1 student at a time). 

The student flips or pulls a card out of the pail or bag, and reads the sight word or says the sound the letter makes. For each word they say correctly, I give their team (or entire class), a point. As soon as someone pulls the BAM card, they must put all the cards they read correctly, back into the pail or bag and begin again. Sometimes we play students vs. teacher, which they LOVE. They get so excited HA!

I will post some more easy games again, soon. I promise--- they are easy to make and very fun for the kids! Win, win!

In my grade 3 PALS class, we are continuing to partner read. 
Every student has a partner to read with (PALS reading program). As previously mentioned, I give points/tokens to students (see here). In addition to the tokens I give to 'individuals' in the pair, each student is also part of a larger team of 4. At the end of the PALS circuit, I have each student meet with their larger team to add their earned tokens. Each team gives me their tally and I add it to their group points. This process holds them very accountable. Reporting back to the team with their earned tokens is a confidence booster. The team motivates them to do better because they all have a part to play. 

Here was this months team prize. Each student in the group of 4 received a little packed prize. 

The month of April was a large box of Nerds, a travel connect four game or travel tic tac toe game and a mechanical pencil. 


Each Tuesday is what I call "Tech Tuesday" as mentioned a few posts back (here). With the digital world continuing to explode, students need to know where to find quality reading pieces and know that digitized reading material is another option. I break the students into their 4 member groups. I provide them a reading site. They have 5 minutes to agree on a story before they plug their headphones in and either read or listen to a story. 

From there, I lead a think-pair-share-type of discussion. I pose a question, and each student then turns to their group and discusses the question, based on the book they read. Students are able to practise their predicting and retell skills, as well as various comprehension questions. I rotate to each group, listening to discussions and awarding tokens.

These comprehension questions can be found in our independent reading box kit. Check it out here :)


A few reading sites I love:

Most recently, I have discovered Oxford Owl. I especially like the non-fiction choices. They aren't commercialized books-- just easy reading. I like to project these stories as a read aloud and then break the students into groups. 
Registration is free.

Below, the students are using Storyline Online. Love this site. Great for reluctant readers who want to read the books that others students are reading, but are not strong enough, yet. 


Each Thursday is what I call "Teacher's Choice Day", where I bring in reading material or a reading game. The kids are always itchin' to know what they are doing. 

Last week I used this pack by Hello Literacy-- High interest informational texts. I broke the students into their groups.

We used the article entitled "The Vortex of Video Games".
What I love is that you can choose from 4 different reading levels for your students (so they can be used for multiple grades).
 Students read the article out loud to each other, highlighted key points and worked on various questions, together.



Lots more on tap for the next 6 or so weeks before Summer Break!

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While I was on maternity leave, I made a list of projects I wanted to complete before heading back to work. These were activities that I had great success with in my classroom that I wanted to clean up for future use and share. 

One of the more simple, but effective resources were "Class Books" for primary classrooms. I love using mentor texts. Our curriculum is embedded with teaching students to connect a variety of texts to their experiences, world view and other texts. The problem is that when you are 5,6, 7 and 8 years old, your world is school and home. In order to teach them these concepts in a simplistic way, I made a variety of 'class books' with my kiddos. These were pages that students created and I bound together. I displayed these books and sent them home to be shared. 

Here is one that I recently refined.

This pack is focused around "Text to Self" Connections using the book "The Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle.

What's inside?
- Detailed instructions
- Learning Goal
- Read Aloud Discussion Questions
- Variety of Class Book Cover Pages 
- Curriculum focus/ learning goal cut outs for notebook
- Text to self sentence starters (for notebook draft)
- Class book sentence stater pages (good copy) with a variety of line choices 
- Home share page 
- Example photos

Click here to see more and preview!




Hope you take a peak.

More importantly, have a great weekend! And continue to keep on truckin'. 

~Kaitlin~

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