Sunday, 13 January 2019

The Importance of Independent Reading

Are you thinking about some ways to differentiate teaching that supports students in developing reading proficiency?  This is something that I have struggled with over the years.  A highly active classroom often gets the better of me and my independent reading practice goes by the wayside.  The suggestions I provide are not foolproof but they are practical enough for anyone to implement.  Once independent reading is established, the goal is to use this time to work on small group guided reading with your students.  Begin by setting a time for uninterrupted reading.  I usually do this for 20 minutes each day.  Your students will thank you for it!  The "I don't know what to read" will diminish if you give students some choice.  During the first week, we gather with a few read alouds.  As I read aloud, I talk about ways I'm reading the book.  This includes how I hold it, how I read the book jacket, looking for the copyright date, the author, the illustrator and even where it was published.  Students love when we can find out "how old the book is."

I then ask students to select books they may be interested in reading from the classroom library.  The library is filled with bins and labelled genres.

Students are asked to choose 5 books to read at the beginning of the week.  They are then placed in labelled magazine box holders with students' names on them.  Choosing 5 books allows them to not travel back and forth to the classroom library.  They have chosen 5 books just incase one is not appropriate.  Books range from graphic novels, reading series, sports, hobbies, science, math etc. I often keep double copies of my read aloud so that one goes back in the classroom library.  Sticky fingers off my own read aloud selection!

We create an anchor chart for what Independent Reading looks like, sounds like and feel like.  I model Independent Reading time.  I often invite another teacher in to demonstrate or a student I taught from the previous year.  Once students "see" the process, they are able to co-construct an anchor chart.  

Over the next few days, during independent reading time, I interview each student.  I can usually get through 5 a day. This involves taking a reading interest inventory.  

This practice allows me to know what the students might be interested in reading.  Often they have repeatedly said "I don't know what to read" or "I don't like reading."  They slowly realize that they do have an interest in some genre.  When I know what that is, I make an effort to stock my classroom library with things they will like.

Once independent reading time routines are in place, I can begin working on exploring reading levels through running records. This usually happens during the second or third week of school.  Within the first month, reading interests are discovered as well as reading levels.  I am then able to focus on my guided reading groups during independent reading time.  

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Dollar Deals on TpT

It's that time of year again!  The TpT Focused Success group is bringing some fabulous dollar deals your way for two days only!



Search #Ringin2019 on TpT.  For the resources above click on the links below (discount prices end on January 1st, 2019): 



Sunday, 2 December 2018

Christmas Resource Roundup!

With concerts galore and a multitude of interruptions,  here are some fun ways to keep your students busy with Math and Literacy Stations.  Offering choice activities and providing task cards and lap books is always a good approach to keeping your students engaged.

Christmas Writing Folder


This interactive folder is a great springboard to assist your students with three writing forms and a bonus Wanted Poster. You will find a descriptive task called Open the Doors to Christmas. With this four door book, students will use 4 of their senses to describe the Christmas season. A procedural writing task is included. Students will write about how to ready their place for Santa. A letter writing activity is included. This is a choice with students deciding on who they would like to direct the letter to at the North Pole. Various letter writing choices are provided. A fun task is to have students create wanted posters for jobs at Santa's workshop. A sample is provided to encourage descriptive details and drawings to make this poster task a fun one.Templates, rubrics and folder assembly instructions are included. All you need is a regular sized folder. 



Idioms Word Work


This unit has expressions on word cards ready for cutting and laminating. Students will be provided with a blank template and task cards filled with an expression related to a Christmas theme. They will then be asked to sketch a situation using the idiomatic expression on the card and then write and sketch their interpretation of it. This is a great addition to your Word Work Station or can be used as an extra activity for early finishers. 


Christmas Writing Task Cards

Task cards are individualized with title and writing prompts. In addition to 24 prompts, you will find graphic organizers and specialty writing paper to assist students with the writing process. These task cards will make a great addition to a writing station. 


Christmas Math Stations

Keep your students engaged in fun math activities with a Christmas theme. Activities include: construction of a Gingerbread House based on money amounts, December calendar math activities involving patterning and operations, completing a hidden picture using decimal operations and playing a Race to the Gingerbread House game based on odd and even sums.

The Gingerbread House construction and Race to the Gingerbread House game may be differentiated. Game boards, instructions, answers and number cards are included.


Christmas Memories Recount Writing





This is a great home-school connection or addition to your literacy writing station. Students are encouraged to write about their special Christmas memories. A helpful planning sheet is included for your struggling writers. This writing activity will encourage writing at any grade level. 


Christmas Writing Paper


This package includes Christmas letter writing paper and lined paper for emergent and established writers. Art work created includes a reindeer, penguin and dog. Bonus gift tags are included in this package.




Silly sentences have always been a fun way to explore sentence building and recognizing parts of speech. Students in grades 3 through 6 will have the opportunity to use subject, verb and complement cards to build and simplify silly sentences. Challenging verb cards are included with this unit as well as nouns associated with the Christmas theme, a blank sentence building template, display and label cards and a synonym chart. This is a perfect activity to use in your Word Work Stations or as an extra project for early finishers. 

Christmas Part Part Whole Number Cards



Part-part-whole cards are designed to assist students in computation of number sums. This unit of 25 part-part-whole cards will allow students to practice sums from 2 to 10. The unit includes 2 variations for the numbers 2 and 3 and 3 variations for the numbers 4 to 10. With numbers hidden with flaps, Students can then justify what the missing part is and lift the flap to verify their answers. Cards may be used during a number talks, during guided math groups or for individual assessments. 

Christmas Roll a Story



Students will be prompted to tell or write story with a Christmas theme. This unit includes a story prompt sheet, graphic organizers, word lists (Christmas & transition words), rubric and specialty writing paper with full and half lined pages.

Christmas Write the Room


This is a fun way to have students recognize and learn to write Christmas words. Used as a literacy station, printed cards on cardstock can be placed around the room at students’ height. Using a clipboard and recording sheet, students will write the correct word beside the correct number. There are two variations of the recording sheet for differentiation. Cards contain shape box letters and images to reinforce letter formation and word recognition. 

Free Downloads



Christmas Writing Choice Board Freebie


This writing choice board freebie is a great addition to your Writing Station or a useful activity for early finishers. Eight writing options plus a free one are included.

Free Clip Art

Christmas Frames


Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Great Activities E-Book Launch



Download this free A 20 page resource e-book from TpT Sellers offers links to free and paid resources for all grade levels and spanning multiple curriculum.



Thursday, 1 November 2018

Remembrance Day Poppy Wreath

This Remembrance Day, have your students create a Poppy Wreath.  Each student can create their own poppy which can be attached to a hanger to create a class poppy wreath.  Directions are listed below: 


Poppy Wreath Instructions
You will need:
- Several sheet of red paper (8 - 1/2  X 11”)
- Sheets of black paper
- Scissors
- Glue
- Something to trace (e.g., small cup)
- Wire hanger
- Heavy duty tape
Instructions:
1.     Bend wire hanger into a circle shape.
2.     Make several copies of the heart template using red paper.
3.    Cut 6 hearts for each poppy.  Crinkle each heart and then glue them together.
4.     Use a small cup to trace a black circle.  Cut the circle and then cut small fringes into the edges.  Glue the black circle into the middle of your poppy.
5.    Attached each poppy to the hanger.  Use heavy duty tape.
6.    To create a full effect, add at least 10 to 12 poppies to the hanger.

Full directions and photos are free at the following link: 



Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Halloween Resource Roundup

That time of year is fast approaching.  Here are some fun activities to use in your classrooms.




Halloween math stations are a fun way to consolidate learning for students in Grades 3 to 6. This package of activities includes a patterning poster project, word cards, poster templates and a rubric to use after working through terms such as increasing patterns, decreasing patterns and repeating patterns. Two criteria checklists have been developed. One uses the slide, flip and turn vocabulary while the other uses translations, reflections and rotations. A sample poster planner is part of this package as well as images to use in the creative part of the poster. Individual patterning practice activities are included, an addition game, multiplication game and a place value game using numbers between 0 and 99.


Halloween is always a fun time of year to introduce literacy activities to your classroom. This bundle contains four Halloween units found in my store. The Halloween Writing Unit contains three forms: descriptive writing, procedural writing and informational writing.  The descriptive writing component is introduced through an Onomatopoeia Poem. With the creation of words that produce natural sounds, students can come up with a creative way to explore the world of poetry. It is recommended that a Halloween CD be used for this activity. If a CD is not available, you may access the internet for Halloween sounds or have students come up with their own.  When writing a procedure, students can come up with a Halloween Recipe that will send shivers down the reader’s spine. A step by step “how to” activity is included to assist in the procedural writing process.  Finally, the informational piece is always a fun one that allows students to publish their work on specialty writing paper. Students will explore fascinating facts about bats and explain why bats exhibit certain characteristics, habits or features. This writing kit includes a writing guide to assist your students, writing forms, display ideas and book covers (if you choose to turn these into class books), specialty writing paper and a rubric. 
 


A working with words activity will have students in grades 3 through 6 use subject, verb and complement cards to build and simplify silly sentences. Challenging verb cards are included with this unit as well as nouns associated with the Halloween theme, a blank sentence building template, display and label cards and a synonym chart. This is a perfect activity to use in your Word Work Stations or as an extra project for early finishers.



If you would like to start a great home-school connection or addition to your literacy writing station, the Halloween Costumes Write About book is the place to start. A helpful planning sheet is included for your struggling writers. This writing activity will encourage writing at any grade level.





Finally, a package filled with Halloween letter writing paper and lined paper for emergent and established writers is included in this bundle. Art work created includes kids in costumes, jack-o-lanterns, spiders and bats. 


Halloween images are presented in an organized arrangement by number. Students will learn to recognize the number of objects without counting them. This is called “subitizing”. Incorporating these images into daily number chats provides opportunities for students to work on counting, seeing numbers in multiple ways and learning combinations. 

Each page contains 4 of the same image but in different combinations for number chats. You may use one set of 4 images per day. The students can apply the strategies from each picture presented in whole or small group math chats.. 


Make writing fun with this Halloween shaped paper pack. You will find four themes to choose from:  a pumpkin, a witch's hat, a haunted house and a cat. Paper is created for emergent and established writers plus blank form.

Students will be prompted to tell or write a story with a Halloween theme.  This unit includes a story prompt sheet, graphic organizers, word lists (Halloween & transition words), rubric and speciality writing paper with full and half lined pages.


Here's a fun way to assist students in computation of number sums either in math stations, with a buddy or for independent practice. This unit of 25 part-part-whole cards will allow students to practice sums from 2 to 10 with a Halloween theme. The unit includes 2 variations for the numbers 2 and 3 and 3 variations for the numbers 4 to 10. With numbers hidden with flaps, Students can then justify what the missing part is and lift the flap to verify their answers. Cards may be used during a number talks, during guided math groups or for individual assessments. 


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Here's a free product your trick or treaters will love: Halloween Loot Bag Tags. Just add a loot bag and goodies before placing this tag on the treat bag.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Gift Card Giveaway!


I've teamed up with some fabulous TpT authors for a gift card giveaway.  See details below to enter:



GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  
Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 10/13/18 and is open worldwide.
This month we have 2 chances to win!  Head on over here for a second chance!
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 


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